VirtualCenter Sysprep Readiness STP

Version 1


    The Basic System Administration guide for VirtualCenter 2.5 requires that the sysprep files be extracted to the VirtualCenter server for guest customization to be available when cloning a virtual machine.


    Dave Mishchenko's website ( has a list of the download links for various Microsoft OSes and specific extraction instructions.


    Dave's list was syndicated into VIOPS to develop a standard technical procedure (STP) for Ops/Admins to follow.


    Intended Audience


    VMware Certified Professionals (VCPs) who are setting up VirtualCenter ready for guest customizations.




    An STP has the following components:

    1. Info

    2. Trigger

    3. Inputs

    4. RACI

    5. Resources

    6. Actions

    7. Timings

    8. Tests

    9. Outputs

    10. Metrics



    1. Info



    The following text is from the Basic System Administration Guide (see Resources):


    If you plan to customize a Windows guest operating system, you must first install the Microsoft Sysprep tools on your VirtualCenter Server machine.


    Microsoft includes the Sysprep tool set on the installation CD‐ROM discs for Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003. It also distributes Sysprep from the Microsoft Web site. To perform a Windows customization, you must install the Sysprep tools either from your installation disc, or from the Microsoft download package. You must install the correct version of the Sysprep tools for each operating system you want to customize. Also, ensure that the password for the local administrator account on the virtual machine is set to blank (““).


    During customization, VirtualCenter searches for the Sysprep package corresponding to your guest operating system. If VirtualCenter does not find any Sysprep tools, the Windows virtual machine customization does not proceed.

    The guest operating system customization feature in VirtualCenter Server 3.5 takes full advantage of Windows sysprep functionality. As a result, it is very important that you have sysprep installed for each of the guests that you wish to customize. If for example sysprep is not provided for Windows Server 2003, customization will not attempt to use an earlier version, but will simply disable the customization operation for that guest.



    2. Trigger



    This STP is required during the installation/configuration of VirtualCenter, specifically to enable template guest customizations.


    3. Inputs



    Check out the links on Dave's website:


    Or, get them all at once by downloaded the attached document (sysprep_list.txt) and running:


    wget -i sysprep_list.txt


    Ideally, you should store these files in a Definitive Software Library for safe keeping.  Sites normally provide a portal to such a store, where you can upload files so they are tracked, and then you can read the files by HTTP, FTP or drive mapping.



    You should have six files in your Definitive Software Library (DSL) that are accessible to VirtualCenter via a share.  If you aren't using a DSL, you still need to make the downloaded files available to VirtualCenter by either copying them to the VirtualCenter server, or making them available via a share. 


    1. Consult your Windows OS team to see if they have these files already, and check through this STP with them.

    2. Consult your Configuration Management tools/team to see if these files already exist in the DSL.


    4. RACI



    The RACI matrix in Table 1shows who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed for this STP.


    • Responsible is the person or role who executes the STP

    • Accountable is the person or role who authorizes the STP and approves the completed work.

    • Consulted is the person(s) or role(s) who are contacted for input.

    • Informed is the persons(s) or role(s) who are informed about the STP.






    VMware Administrator

    VMware Team Lead

    Windows OS Team
    Configuration Management Team


    Table 1: Sysprep STP RACI Matrix


    5. Resources



    During the execution of this STP, the following resources are required:


    • Administrator access to the VirtualCenter server

    • Push access to the DSL, to store the downloaded sysprep files

    • Pull access from the DSL, to retrieve and use the downloaded sysprep files

    • Five virtual machine templates for Win2K, Win2K3, Win2K3_x64, WinXP, WinXP_64


    6. Actions and Timings



    The STP actions should be completed in less than 40 minutes.  Testing is extra, and covered in the next section.


    Setup (5 minutes)

    • Logon to VirtualCenter

    • Execute the following commands:

      • cd (workarea)

      • md sysprep_stp

      • md sysprep_stp\sysprep_1.1

      • md sysprep_stp\win2k

      • md sysprep_stp\win2k3

      • md sysprep_stp\win2k3_x64

      • md sysprep_stp\xp

      • md sysprep_stp\xp_x64


    Sysprep 1.1 (5 minutes)

    • Expand the sysprep_1.1 downloaded file into (workarea)\sysprep_stp\sysprep_1.1

    • copy (workarea)\sysprep_stp\sysprep_1.1\tools C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep\1.1


    Windows 2000 (5 minutes)

    • Expand the win2000 downloaded file into (workarea)\sysprep_stp\win2k

    • Open (workarea)\sysprep_stp\win2k\i386\

    • Copy the contents of to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep\2k


    Windows 2003 (5 minutes)

    • Run the win2003 downloaded EXE file

    • Open c:\windows\system32\

    • Copy the contents of to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep\svr2003


    Windows 2003 x64 (5 minutes)

    • Run the win2003x64 downloaded EXE file

    • Open SP2QFE\

    • Copy the contents of to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep\svr2003-64


    Windows XP (5 minutes)

    • Open winxp

    • Copy the contents of to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep\xp


    Windows XP x64 ( minutes)

    • Exract the winxp63 EXE

    • Open SP2QFE\

    • Copy the contents of to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\sysprep\xp-64

    • Test by running a


    Clean up

    • del (workarea)\sysprep_stp


    7. Timings



    If these timings do not match the execution timings, then either the STP is wrong (and needs to be improved) or the execution is wrong (and needs to be improved).



    Timing (minutes)



    Sysprep 1.1


    Windows 2000


    Windows 2003


    Windows 2003 x64


    Windows XP


    Windows XP x64


    Clean up



    8. Tests



    Execute the following tests to ensure this STP is successful.


    1. Deploy a Windows 2000 template with guest customization

    2. Deploy a Windows 2003 template with guest customization

    3. Deploy a Windows 2003 x64 template with guest customization

    4. Deploy a Windows XP template with guest customization

    5. Deploy a Windows XP x64 template with guest customization


    9. Outputs



    This STP produces the following outputs:


    1. Sysprep files are stored in the DSL

    2. VirtualCenter can customize Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows 2003 x64, Windows XP, and Windows XP x64



    10. Metrics



    This STP is measured as follows:


    1. Time taken for Actions is < 40minutes

    2. Time taken for testing is < 20minutes







    You use this proven practice at your discretion. VMware and the author do not guarantee any results from the use of this proven practice. This proven practice is provided on an as-is basis and is for demonstration purposes only.