ESX Virtual Center has the functionality to allow you to customize any templated Windows OS builds you may have.
Templates are used to ease and speed the process of deploying new Windows based VM OS’s. Clones can be made of these templates and if prepared with the ‘Deploy Template Wizard’ or Microsoft SYSPREP the OS is individualised.
It should be pointed out that the ‘Deploy Template Wizard’ does in fact use SYSPREP to prepare the templated OS if you want to customize a new VM server instance based on that template. Also in case you didn’t realise VMware Virtual Center is required to create and deploy templates.
The ‘Deploy Template Wizard’ can be started by right mouse clicking a template from within Virtual Center (below).
Stepping through the wizard, once you get to ‘Guest Customization’ you may only be presented with one option, ‘Do not customize’. The other two options being grayed out.
The reason for this is that the server on which Virtual Center is running doesn’t have Microsoft SYSPREP installed into the correct directory. This however is easily remedied.
Take a look on the VC server in the path:
“C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataVMwareVMware VirtualCentersysprep”.
Underneath here you will see sub-folders for Windows 2000 and for x86 and x64 versions of Server 2003 and XP. Each OS requires unique and specific versions of SYSPREP.
Links to download the different versions of SYSPREP are below:
Windows Server 2003 SP1 x86 SYSPREP – Link
… then install Windows Server 2003 SP2 x86 SYSPREP – Link
Windows Server 2003 SP2 x64 SYSPREP – Link
Windows Server 2000 SYSPREP – Link
Windows XP SP3 SYSPREP – Link
Download and extract what ever version(s) of SYSPREP you require and add them into the folder outlined above.
Once these files have been copied and you run through the ‘Deploy Template Wizard’ you’ll notice that the other 2 options in the ‘Guest Customization’ are now enabled.
You will notice that when customizing a VM based on a template the options given pretty much mirror those presented with the Windows SYSPREP manager.
Happy cloning !