I have machines running Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 8 Pro. I have tried remote desktop sessions with different combinations and I have found that Aero only works when I connect a Windows 7 client to another Windows 7 server. Here are the combinations I have tried:

Windows 7 client to Windows Vista Server: No Aero Windows 7 client to Windows 7 Server: Aero Windows 8 client to Windows 7 Server: No Aero (It is not relevant on Windows 8 Server because Aero cannot be disabled in Windows 8)

I have turned on all experience and set the colour depth to 32 bits. Is it possible to have Windows Aero enabled in remote desktop in the above situations?

  • Aero didn't exist in Windows Vista and it was removed in Windows 8.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 9 '13 at 15:04

I know this is a bit of a diversion from the original question, but I prefer to use http://tightvnc.com/ - it (very efficiently) sends everything on the screen to the other end, even JPEG encoding the data over slow networks. The server is very easy to set up on Windows, and there's a low level driver you can install to make it even better. It appears to serve the same purpose as Remote Desktop, has many nice features and is cross-platform - you can even use your smart phone to view your desktop. It will send across all window decorations and theme stuff.

  • You lost me on “JPEG encrypting”.
    – Will
    Jun 4 '14 at 2:54
  • 1
    Ah, whoops...... that should read "JPEG encoding" - corrected Jun 5 '14 at 12:13

Aero is only available on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Any combination involving Windows 8 will not produce an Aero desktop. Windows 8 does not support Aero.

Check out this Wikipedia entry for additional information.


Aero is not available in Windows 8. However, desktop composition is and should always be available over remote desktop for Windows 8.


For Vista and 7, see the chart on this page (didn't translate well to preformatted text): http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2009/06/23/aero-glass-remoting-in-windows-server-2008-r2.aspx


Users who have problem of the disappearance of Aero theme with blur effect on Windows 8 can now reactivate Aero Glass : Aero Windows 8

  • Can you summarize the information at the link, in case the page disappears, but also because it is not in English.
    – jonsca
    Dec 12 '13 at 22:06

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