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