Workspace Manager, Aero Basic Theme and Mandatory Profiles

For those of you that have attempted to deploy RES Workspace Manager 2011 (or RES PowerFuse 2010) on Windows 7 and wanted to use Mandatory Profiles with the Windows Aero Basic experience, you might have come across this issue. If you utilise the standard .Default user profile as your starting point for the Mandatory profile, you may discover that users do not have the Aero theme enabled as expected. The user experience either on traditional physical or hosted virtual desktops may look something like this:


Note: This typically happens if you enable the “Disable Active Setup (skip first-time shell init)” option in Composition > Desktop > Lockdown and Behaviour section of the RES Workspace Manager management console. This presumably because by the time User Settings are loaded by RES Workspace Manager, the Themes service has already processed the required registry keys loading the (mandatory) profile.

The resolution to this is to enable the Aero theme when utilising the Mandatory profile and export the HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes and the HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ThemeManager registry keys. These can then be merged into the existing NTUSER.MAN registry hive to enable the Aero theme by default (see the Updating Mandatory Profiles post for further information on how to do this).

When you update the Mandatory profile with the Themes/ThemeManager settings you’ll end up with something like this:


Note: This process is also applicable for Windows 2008/R2 RDS servers with the Desktop Experience feature installed.

Easy when you know how! Iain


  1. Barry Schiffer on April 26, 2015 at 15:51

    Thanks man just the thing I was looking for!

  2. Barry Schiffer on April 26, 2015 at 15:54

    By the way this setting is an application setting and not lockdown and behavior. At least it is in 2014 might have been moved between versions.

  3. Iain Brighton on May 1, 2015 at 14:01

    Yep – They introduced the “Application > Settings” tab a little while ago now! Glad it still works 🙂

  4. MaartenBren on November 30, 2016 at 09:42

    Hi Iain, Thanks for your valuable explenation. I cannot find the option ‘Disable Active Setup (skip first-time shell init)’. How is it called under WM 2014? Thanks in advance.

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