Windows Virtual PC is a new virtualization software specifically for Windows 7 and newer operating system, and it incorporates many advanced features over its predecessor, Virtual PC 2007. One of the feature is that Windows Virtual PC is now introducing Integration Features which can use Remote Desktop (RDP) technology to display the video from the virtual machine, that in turn provides support for Windows Aero Glass Transparency effect in virtual machines.

Most hardware virtualization solutions cannot support Windows Aero in guest virtual machines because the built-in virtualized graphic card driver for the VM does not support the true GPU hardware acceleration, a prerequisite for Aero Glass to work. Workaround exists since Windows Vista with the introduction of Remote Desktop Connection client which supports menu and window animation. By connection to the virtual machine with Remote Desktop, user can access and view virtual machine with full Aero experience.

In fact, Windows Aero Glass Transparency experience should be enabled by default in the virtual machine powered by Windows Virtual PC that installed with Windows 7 as guest operating system, once user install and enable the Integration Features of the VM. Do note that for Aero to work in the virtual machine, there are several conditions to be met:

  • Aero only works on virtual machine that installed with same version of operating system as host machine.
  • The host machine must have a graphics adapter that is capable of and support Aero, and is currently enable and running Aero Glass.
  • Some reports stating that edition of Windows 7 OS for both host and guest must be the same too.
  • As Windows Aero depends on Remote Desktop Connection (Windows 7 comes with new version of RDP7), thus only Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 7 Enterprise or Windows 7 Professional SKU, as RDP server or host (Remote Desktop Services) is only available in these versions.

If the virtual machine powered by Windows 7 Virtual PC in which fulfills above conditions does not get the Aero, here’s the brief guide on how to enable and turn on the Aero Glass in virtual machine.

  1. Turn on and enable Windows Aero in the host machine, if it’s still not running on
  2. Launch and sign in the Windows 7 VM.
  3. On Windows Virtual PC, click on Tools menu, and select Install Integration Components to install Virtual PC Integration Components.

    Install Virtual PC Integration Components

  4. After rebooting the virtual machine, click on Tools menu on Windows Virtual PC, and select Enable Integration Features.

    Enable Integration Features

  5. Virtual machine will automatically log off.
  6. Re-login into the virtual machine, and Windows Aero Glass Transparency effect will be enabled in the virtual machine running Windows 7.

Windows 7 Virtual Machine with Aero Glass Transparency Effect

Note: If Windows Aero still does not work, try to re-enable Aero by going to Personalization (right click on Desktop and select Personalize, and select one of the “Windows Aero” themes to enable Aero with Glass effects.