Enabling Flip3D on Windows Server 2008

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Sometimes you just have to be really dedicated to pull stupid stuff. Like today.I'll try and get my Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate box to do Flip3D's: the Windows Vista feature that lets you switch between windows on a 3d manner.The reason is because I saw Keith Combs let his box do this trick. I think my box can do the trick as well. I succeeded!

Here's how I got my server to perform Flip3D's:


Install Windows Server 2008

I installed Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate 0 x64 Enterprise Edition.
This is not the only edition of Windows Server 2008 that allows you to enable Flip3D. I only installed it because I was curious about the Windows Server Virtualization stuff as well…


Install Drivers for your Video card

My Windows Server 2008 box today has a Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTS video card, which was a pretty awesome video card a while ago. It has all the features you want your video card to have to enable Aero.

Nvidia does not offer a Windows Server 2008 driver for their video cards (yet), but fortunately they offer a driver for Windows Vista. I downloaded the x64 driver for my video card and installed it.


Add the Desktop Experience feature

The Desktop Experience feature is a feature that offers Windows Vista functionality like Windows Media Player, Windows Mail and themes.  To install it:


  1.  Open Server Manager
  2.  Go to "Features" in the left hand pane
  3.  Click on " Add features"
  4.  Click Next >
  5.  Select the "Desktop Experience" feature
  6.  Click Install in the summary screen


The Add features wizard will do its job until it's done. When it's done press the Close button and select Yes to restart your Windows Server 2008 box.

After the restart the Server Manager will resume installing the feature. You'll need to wait until it's done, before you can go ahead with the next step. Have some patience…


Start the Themes service

Open the Services Microsoft Management Console (MMC) by either selecting it from the Administrative Tools or typing services.msc in your Start Menu. Select the Themes Service. Enable the service to start automatically. (it's disabled by default) Start the Themes Service.


Select the Windows Vista Aero theme

Right Click on your desktop somewhere and select Personalize in the context menu. In the Personalization screen select Theme. Select the Windows Vista theme from the list. Press OK when you're done.

In the Personalization screen select Window Color and Appearance. Select Windows Aero and press OK when you're done.

Close the Personalization window.


Use Flip3D

You're ready to use Flip3D. Use the Start Orb and Tab button simultaneously on your keyboard to flip your windows. Use the Ctrl button to freeze the windows and use the Shift button to switch through the windows in opposite direction.



Although I enjoyed fiddling with a Windows Server 2008 installation this way I think it's mind boggling Microsoft makes this kind of features available for Windows Servers. I don't even think Terminal Services justifies it.

It makes me love my Server Core boxes all the more…

Further reading

Keith Combs' Blahg : What OS is this?
Learn about Windows Vista features: Windows Flip and Flip 3D
Windows Configuration, Enable Flip 3D

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