VMware View Linked Clones: Infinite Sysprep reboots


I'm testing out a new VMware View 5.1 installation and having issues with the customization process

I have created a Windows XP Gold Image with the following relevant specifications

Windows XP Service Pack 3

Applied all Windows Updates

Disabled Windows Firewall

VMXnet 3 Virtual Adapter

Installed the KB944043

Installed the VMware Agent 5.1.1 (after the KB944043 applied)

I'm using a Virtual Distributed switch with ephemeral ports in vsphere 5.1

I release the IP and shutdown the VM

Take a snapshot of the VM named "TEST"

In View Manager I created a pool "TEST" using Linked Clones, point it at my snapshot "TEST" and use a sysprep customisation I created not quickprep

This is what happens

1. View Composer clones the VM to a  replica

2. View Composer adds the PC names into Active Directory

3. after the VM's are all created they boot up, sysprep runs and reseals and reboots

4. I see a "VMware customizing in process"

5. Windows XP Mini-Setup runs

6. VM reboots

then it loops from number 4 through to 6 over and over

any one seen this one and got some tips?


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5 Replies

From the VMware View Admin console I should also add that it reports the machines in the "customizing" stage

I have looked at many threads regarding this issue but none so far have solved mine.

After Mini-Setup occurs, does the agent flag something to indicate sysprep has completed or whats the timeline here?

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Timeline of what I see working and what doesn't


  1. View Manager creates the linked-clone entry in View LDAP and puts the virtual machine into the Provisioning state. WORKS
  2. View Manager calls View Composer to create the linked clone WORKS
  3. The View Composer Server creates the machine account entry in Active Directory for the new clone and creates a random binary password for the newly created computer account. WORKS, I can see all the machines populated in Active Directory ready
  4. If a replica for the base image and snapshot does not yet exist in the target datastore for the linked clone, View Composer creates the replica in the datastore. If a separate datastore is configured to store all replicas, the replica is created in the replica datastore. (In View 4.5 and later, replicas can be stored in a separate datastore.) WORKS
  5. View Composer creates the linked clone using the vCenter Server API. WORKS
  6. View Composer creates an internal disk on the linked clone. This small disk contains configuration data for QuickPrep or Sysprep. The disk also stores machine password changes that Windows performs every 30 days, according to the policy setting. This disk data ensures that domain connectivity is maintained when a checkpointed desktop is refreshed. WORKS


  1. View Manager puts the virtual machine into the Customizing state. WORKS
  2. If the pool is configured to use Sysprep, View Manager calls the vCenter Server API customizeVM_Task to customize the virtual machine with the customization spec. Note that domain / administrator information in the customization spec is not used. The virtual machine is joined to the domain using the guest customization information entered through the View Administrator UI. Not sure if the VM is joined on the domain
  3. View Manager powers on the linked clone. WORKS
  4. When the virtual machine powers on, in the guest operating system on the linked clone, the View Composer Agent detects that it is starting for the first time and calls NetJoinDomain with the machine password cached on the internal disk. The machine is now joined to the domain. This operation takes place for both QuickPrep and Sysprep. Not sure if the VM is joined on the domain
  5. If Sysprep is being used, Sysprep runs in the guest operating system on the linked clone. WORKS - I see sysprep running
  6. The View Composer Agent waits for Sysprep to finish before notifying View Agent that customization is complete.  NEVER GETS PAST HERE
  7. View Agent waits for the View Composer Agent to say that customization is complete. When customization is complete, View Agent sends a message to View Manager.
  8. View Manager powers off the clone and takes a snapshot of the customized, powered off clone. The snapshot is called “vdm-initial-checkpoint”.
  9. When the linked clone is created and customized, and a snapshot has been taken, View Manager puts the linked clone into the Provisioned state. If the virtual machine is powered on, it changes to the Available state.

I have attached the screen the VM's get too, it's the screen just after you see "vmware customizing in progress" before they reboot, and continue the loop

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I'm getting close.

after performing a recompose I jumped into windows to watch it run the sysprep process, and I can see as soon as sysprep starts it removes the NIC on the machine

obviously the agent on the machine can't talk to the server as well as the machine can't join the domain as its not on the network

How can I get sysprep to stop removing the NIC information for that adapter? need to remove /generalize I would guess.

Where does view set what sysprep options it runs as the customization wizard doesn't have these options.

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Here is some more info.

I have a VM in vCenter named "TEMPLATE - Windows XP"

If I clone this VM through vCenter, and use an existing customization specification I have created which joins the domain the following happens.

The VM is cloned.

If I edited the cloned VM, the cloned VM has the button unticked "Connect when power on" for the NIC

If I power on the cloned VM, the NIC is never connected.

Yet, when I do this test with another VM "TEMPLATE - Windows 7" which of course has Windows 7

the machine is cloned, I edit the VM the tick box "connect when powered on" is also not on

However, if I power on the Windows 7 VM, and then go back into the settings, I see the NIC HAS been connected.

My issue is only happens with Windows XP

I have a hunch that this is by design for disabliong the NIC initially, so that you dont have multiple machines with the same name trying to get the same IP on the network at the same time? This then gives time for sysprep to start, rename the PC and then the NIC is connected next reboot?

unfortunately the NIC is never connected for my Windows XP machine

has anyone seem this or similar?

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The issue is not specifically View related, its more to do with the vCenter clone process.

So closing this thread and starting a new one in the right section.

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