Install Desktop Experience on a Terminal Server

Updated: March 15, 2010

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

When a user uses Remote Desktop Connection to connect to a terminal server, the desktop that exists on the terminal server is reproduced by default in the remote session. To make the remote session look and feel more like the user's local Windows Vista desktop experience, install the Desktop Experience feature on a terminal server running Windows Server 2008. Desktop Experience installs applications and features of Windows Vista, such as Windows Media Player, Windows Defender, and Windows Calendar.

Use the following procedure to install Desktop Experience on the server.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, on the terminal server that you plan to configure, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477).

ImportantImportant
After installing Desktop Experience, you need to restart the computer.

  1. Open Server Manager. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Server Manager.

  2. Under Features Summary, click Add Features.

  3. On the Select Features page, select the Desktop Experience check box, and then click Next.

  4. On the Confirm Installation Selections page, verify that the Desktop Experience feature will be installed, and then click Install.

  5. On the Installation Progress page, installation progress will be noted.

  6. On the Installation Results page, you are prompted to restart the server to finish the installation process. Click Close, and then click Yes to restart the server.

  7. After the server restarts and you log on to the computer, the remaining steps of the installation will finish. When the Installation Results page appears, confirm that the installation of Desktop Experience succeeded.

    You can also confirm that Desktop Experience is installed by following these steps:

    1. Start Server Manager.

    2. Under Features Summary, confirm that Desktop Experience is listed as installed.

After you install Desktop Experience, the Windows Vista applications, such as Windows Calendar, will appear under All Programs on the Start menu.

For more information about configuring the look and feel of remote sessions, see the Terminal Services page on the Windows Server 2008 TechCenter (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=73931).

Use the following procedure to uninstall Desktop Experience from the server.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, on the terminal server that you plan to configure, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477).

ImportantImportant
After uninstalling Desktop Experience, you need to restart the computer.

  1. Open Server Manager. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Server Manager.

  2. Under Features Summary, click Remove Features.

  3. On the Select Features page, clear the Desktop Experience check box, and then click Next.

  4. On the Confirm Removal Selections page, click Remove.

  5. On the Removal Progress page, removal progress will be noted.

  6. On the Removal Results page, you are prompted to restart the server to finish the removal process. Click Close, and then click Yes to restart the server.

  7. After the server restarts and you log on to the computer, the remaining steps of the removal process will finish. When the Removal Results page appears, confirm that the removal of Desktop Experience succeeded.

    You can also confirm that Desktop Experience is removed by following these steps:

    1. Start Server Manager.

    2. Under Features Summary, confirm that Desktop Experience is no longer listed as installed.

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