When installing Windows 11 in a Virtual Machine (Hyper-V or VirtualBox), it shows no Rounded Corners nor Mica effects. The appearance the operating system gets looks a bit aged. It is hard to say at a glance if you are working with Windows 11 or with its predecessor, as all window frames will have square corners. Here's how to fix it and enable rounded corners in a virtual machine.
One of the drastic user interface changes in Windows 11 is the style of the window frame and its effects. Unlike in previous versions, Microsoft made the corners rounder. The titlebar now has a nice "Mica" effect, which blends your wallpaper with the window background.
Depending on the screen position, the titlebar changes its gradients and color. It also changes when you switch between apps. The adjustment allows to easily differentiate the active and inactive window. That's how Mica works.
But after installing Windows 11 in a VM, you will find that the rounder corners are missing, along with Mica effects. That's because the emulated graphic device is poor, especially in Hyper-V and VirtualBox. It causes the operating system to reduce its resource usage by disabling most of GUI enhancements.
You may be not happy with the situation, e.g. when you need to take a screenshot from your VM, and you want it look authentic. Luckily, you can force enable rounded corners and Mica in Hyper-V and VirtualBox with a small Registry tweak. Do the following.
Enable Windows 11 Rounded Corners and Mica in Hyper-V or VirtualBox VM
- Start your virtual machine and boot it to the Desktop, then open the Registry editor with the regedit command (Win + R >
- On the left, navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Dwm branch.
- Right-click on the Dwm key, and select New > DWORD (32-bit) value from the menu.
- Name the new value ForceEffectMode.
- Double-click ForceEffectMode and set its value data to 2.
- Finally, restart your Hyper-V or VirtualBox machine. You now have rounded corners and Mica.
That was very easy. To undo the change, simply remove the ForceEffectMode value, and you are done.
You can download the following ready-to-use Registry files to save your time.
Extract the downloaded ZIP archive to any folder if your choice. You will see the following two REG files.
Their names are self-explanatory, so you can click the one named "
Enable Rounded Corners.reg", confirm the Registry change, and restart the virtual machine. The other file will undo the change for you.
If you prefer to deploy your virtual machines, or automate their setup with batch files or PowerShell scripts, you may find useful a command prompt method of changing the Registry value. Here's how to enable rounded corners in your VM from command prompt.
Command Prompt Method
Open Terminal as Administrator by pressing Win + X and selecting the Terminal (Admin) item from the menu.
If you prefer the classic Command Prompt, switch to its tab in Terminal with the Ctrl + Shift + 2 hotkey, and enter one of the following commands:
- Enable rounded corners:
reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Dwm /v ForceEffectMode /t REG_DWORD /d 2 /f.
- Disable the effects (restore defaults):
reg delete HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Dwm /v ForceEffectMode /f
Finally, if you prefer PowerShell, its tab opens by default, or you can press Ctrl + Shift + 1 in Terminal, and type the following commands.
- Turn on Mica/rounder corners:
New-ItemProperty -Name ForceEffectMode -PropertyType Dword -Value 2 -Path HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Dwm -Force.
- Turn off:
Remove-ItemProperty -Path HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Dwm -Name ForceEffectMode
Don't forget to restart your Hyper-V or VirtualBox virtual machine to enable rounder corners in Windows 11 after running the above commands.
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