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How do I get Windows 7 running in a Virtual PC on Vista to display Aero?

My Virtual PC version is

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forget it, you can't no in Vista. – Jonathan Sep 7 '09 at 16:43
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Check this post on How to Enable Aero Theme With Virtual PC or Remote Desktop

For Windows Virtual PC

In Virtual PC make sure you download the latest version, and have Install Integration Components installed. To check, go to Tools > Enable Integration Components

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I don't see that. My Virtual PC window says "Microsoft Virtual PC 2007" in the title bar, not "Windows Virtual PC". Keep in mind that the host is Vista. – Jason Kresowaty Sep 7 '09 at 16:15
you can't not in Vista – Jonathan Sep 7 '09 at 16:41
in the post said the clear "in both case make sure the Host OS is Windows 7 and is aero theme enabled." – Jonathan Sep 7 '09 at 16:41
I am accepting as answer what Jonathan posted as a comment above: forget it, you can't no in Vista – Jason Kresowaty Sep 8 '09 at 22:49

It isn't technically supported on Virtual PC, as Virtual PC emulates an S3 graphics card. Some alternatives:

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the S3 is perfectly capable of running Aero – Molly7244 Sep 7 '09 at 0:12
I did try RDP into it via Vista mstsc. I think I set all of the options to the maximum. It didn't work. – Jason Kresowaty Sep 7 '09 at 0:21
@Molly not the adapter vpc emulates, it must have a WDDM driver. . – John T Sep 7 '09 at 0:32
It also emulates a card that has 8mb VRAM, Aero's minimum requirement is 128mb. Hence why a hack is required. – John T Sep 7 '09 at 0:35

Hack to Force Enable Aero in Windows 7

Windows 7 has a nice little Windows Aero troubleshooting tool to find and fix problems with transparency and other visual effects, and then enable and turn on Aero support (and also Aero Peek) in Windows 7. If the tool does not work to enable Aero feature in Windows 7, the trick to force enable Aero in Windows Vista may still work in Windows 7.

Follow these steps in the instruction below to force enable Windows Aero Glass Transparency effect on system with video card (graphic accelerator adapter) that does not meet the WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model ) specifications, which provides functionality required to render the desktop and applications using Desktop Window Manager, a compositing window manager running on top of Direct3D 9.0Ex, and provides device driver interfaces required by Direct3D 10 runtime used in Windows 7.

  1. Open Registry Editor (RegEdit).
  2. Navigate to the following registry key:


    If the DWM registry key is not found, right click on Windows and then select New -> Key to create new branch and name it as DWM.

  3. In the right details pane, create a new DWORD (32-bit value) named UseMachineCheck, and set its value to 0.
  4. In the right details pane, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value named Blur, and set its value to 0.
  5. In the right details pane, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value named Animations, and set its value to 0.
  6. Restart the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager in Services in Control Panel (type Services.msc in Start Search), or run the following commands in a command prompt with administrator privileges:

    net stop uxsms net start uxsms

  7. Attempt to enable and apply Windows Aero in Windows 7. Restart the computer if required.

The trick above also may work to enable Aero on Windows 7 and Windows Vista installed on virtual machine (VM), especially in Virtual PC 2007. VPC 2007 uses S3 as virtual display adapter, which is capable of running Windows Aero. When the guest Windows 7 or Vista OS uses software-based hardware check after hack above, it will find only S3, couple with actual Aero-capable video card, may allow Aero to run in VMs as in real physical machine.


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You can't do it from the Virtual PC console, but you should be able to get Aero to display through a remote desktop session, assuming the computer initiating the RDP session can run Aero.

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I did try RDP into it via Vista mstsc. I think I set all of the options to the maximum. It didn't work. – Jason Kresowaty Sep 7 '09 at 0:22
What is your host OS? You still need to be able to run Aero on your local machine. – MDMarra Sep 7 '09 at 0:28
> What is your host OS? It is Vista with Aero functioning. – Jason Kresowaty Sep 7 '09 at 0:29
The driver in Windows 7 is VM Additions S3 Trio32/64 4/24/2007 13.811.0.0 in case that helps in any way. – Jason Kresowaty Sep 7 '09 at 0:34
In the "Experience" tab on the RDP settings before you make the connection, is everything enabled there? – MDMarra Sep 7 '09 at 2:28

well, if aero is that important to you in virtual machine, you should try VMware player 3.0. Not only does it support aero, but it's also capable of opening vhd image files.

check this post.

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