I'm running a bunch of computers which are pretty locked down with Group Policy (users can do virtually nothing other than browse the net and use Office), and local profiles are deleted from machines at shutdown (delprof2).

Having recently updated the network to Windows 7, I've discovered that the locked down accounts seem to get a classic Windows theme (square start menu etc) rather than the standard Windows 7 Aero style one. I've also discovered that if I log onto one of the PCs using my administrative account, restart it and then log in with the locked down user, subsequent logins of the locked down user get the full new Windows theme as I would expect.

I'm trying to pin down why it is this is happening. I've tried comparing running services, looking at which updates are installed, and tried adding the locked down user to the local admin group (just as a test) to see whether or not this causes the locked down user to be able to start the proper desktop without another administrative user having had to have logged in at some point first (incidentally the locked down user still didn't get the full desktop despite this).

Short of logging onto all of the PCs once with an admin account, I've pretty much hit a block with figuring out what's causing this. Has anybody else seen this kind of thing before?

1 Answer 1


Have you looked at the Themes service? I think when this is disabled you see the non-Aero desktop. Maybe it's stopped by default but logging in as admin triggers the service to start. Then for subsequent logins the service would already be running.

You mentioned Group Policy. I found a bunch of Themes setting under Group Policy > User Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization. Maybe there are policies targeted at admins that enable additional features?

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