How To: Get Windows 7 Aero in a Virtual Machine

This week, Microsoft made the XP Mode RC available to Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate users. Most Virtual Machine emulating software has not offered support for Aero previously, including Microsoft's own Virtual PC 2007.

Now, thanks to the powerful set of "Integration Components" in Windows 7 Virtual PC and the enhanced, updated version of Remote Desktop in 7, we can now have the full Aero Glass experience in Windows 7 Virtual Machines, provided the host can handle Aero, and has it enabled.

The folks over at Redmond Pie explain in detail how to get aero in your Windows 7 virtual machines;
Here's how to get it:

This assumes you already have Windows 7 installed on your PC in Virtual PC.

Step 1: Enable Aero on your host machine.

Step 2: Install the latest version of "Integration Components" into your Windows 7 VM.

Step 3: On Windows Virtual PC, choose Tools->Enable Integration Features.

Step 4: Your VM will now be logged off. Log-in again and you will now have fully-featured Aero glass enabled VM running Windows 7!

Extra Step: If aero still doesn't appear, use the same process you would use to enable Aero on your host machine inside the VM. Go to Personalization, and pick one of the "Windows Aero" themes to enable it.

This process will work on any Windows 7 PC running the Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate SKU.

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31 Comments

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Seems like some didn't bother to read the links and just posted random stuff based on own ideas.

There is more then just Aero in this:
XP Mode is a method to provide better compatibility in Windows 7!
XPM will provide 100% compatibility with Windows XP!

* You can now attach USB devices to Windows XP Mode applications directly from the Windows 7 task-bar. This means your USB devices, such as printers and flash drives, are available to applications running in Windows XP Mode, without the need to go into full screen mode.
* You can now access Windows XP Mode applications with a "jump-list". Right click on the Windows XP Mode applications from the Windows 7 task bar to select and open most recently used files.
* You now have the flexibility of customizing where Windows XP Mode differencing disk files are stored.
* You can now disable drive sharing between Windows XP Mode and Windows 7 if you do not need that feature.
* The initial setup now includes a new user tutorial about how to use Windows XP Mode.

Yo dawg we herd you like Windows 7 so we put Wndows 7 in your windows 7 so you can virtualise when you virtualise!

Max? said,
Yo dawg we herd you like Windows 7 so we put Wndows 7 in your windows 7 so you can virtualise when you virtualise!

Win. Total win.

ok..stupidity just killed the cat.first an foremost..why would there be that many people that want to run windows 7 inside of windows 7 on a virtual machine....thats a enterprise level feature that not too many end users would need which comes to my second point...how many enterprise users worry about all the "eye-candy"...most of the time in a environment like this your will take speed,performance, and reliability over the pretty stuff.

I run Vista in a VM on my Vista box all the time. As a developer, its a godsend. I can wipe and get a fresh box whenever I want. I can install whatever extra software i need to test against whenever I want. ANd it never screws up my dev box. So 7 in a VM on 7... that'll be the same to me starting, well, now.

nowimnothing said,
I run Vista in a VM on my Vista box all the time. As a developer, its a godsend. I can wipe and get a fresh box whenever I want. I can install whatever extra software i need to test against whenever I want. ANd it never screws up my dev box. So 7 in a VM on 7... that'll be the same to me starting, well, now.


Agreed. Virtualization isn't just about running other OSes just for the fun of it. For most people (beyond the mere hobbyist, that is), it has more to do with isolation than anything else.

Richardarkless said,
hopefully this feature will be in virtualbox

I agree, hopefully VirtualBox will get this feature soon as well.

Said this in the forums and now I'm saying it here: This will NOT work for Vista on Windows 7, and vice versa. The only reason why this works is because RDP allows for Desktop composition. You can use any virtualization software and get the same result if you RDP into the VM as long as the Host OS is the same version as the OS you're connecting to.

That is a rather stupid feature then... How many times are you going to have a VPC that uses the same OS that the host uses? Seems like a wasted feature to me.

M_Lyons10 said,
That is a rather stupid feature then... How many times are you going to have a VPC that uses the same OS that the host uses? Seems like a wasted feature to me.

If you're using it to test different versions of a single application, you could have several VMs running the same OS as the host.

PsychoDoughBoy said,
If you're using it to test different versions of a single application, you could have several VMs running the same OS as the host.


so basically its about running windows 7, on windows 7 , to test out apps?

carmatic said,
so basically its about running windows 7, on windows 7 , to test out apps?

I don't know and I don't much care, to be honest. I was answering the question about using a guest OS that's the same as the host.

Unique Touch said,
RDP7 supports Aero on a VM (VMWare) as long as the host you are connecting from supports Aero.

?

VMWare does not support Aero in Vista or 7.

Maybe this new "feature" from MS will give them some ideas...

Microsoft Virtual PC is dead. They tied it in Windows 7 (no other improvements like USB support, multithreading etc for XP and Vista) and it appears fanboys all want that because no one is complaining. RDP and usually WMP have always been provided on lower OSes, MS broke those traditions too, otherwise how would they sell Windows 7 which has incremental real new features over Vista?

tuxplorer said,
RDP and usually WMP have always been provided on lower OSes, MS broke those traditions too, otherwise how would they sell Windows 7 which has incremental real new features over Vista?

Maybe I'm not fully understanding what you're trying to say... but it sounds like you just said "Remote Desktop Protocol was available in Windows XP Home and Windows Vista Home Premium"... which is completely wrong...

Remote Desktop CLIENT is available in all OS's... hosting is only available in Pro / Business / Ultimate versions, and always has been.