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Server 2012 OS Customization Issues (VM 5.5)

Hello everyone.

I am experiencing some very frustrating issues when deploying a VM from my Server 2012 Template.

I created my initial VM with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Standard installed and updated (it is not Server 2012 R2). Before CLONING to a template, I took the machine off of the domain and put it on a workgroup. I also renamed the machine to something basic.

The cloning to template completes without any errors. I then proceed to "deploy a VM form this template" and use guest OS customization. The only options I configure are the NetBIOS name (same as VM name), the Owner and Org names, the activation key, and setting the local administrator password. I am having it join the default workgroup, so I also left the network configuration as default (DHCP, even though we will go back and change the IP to static to work within our network then join to domain).

Once I have customized, I click finish, and again... it creates the VM without any issues. When I power it on, it doesn't enter any customization process. I read in another thread that you have to reboot the guest at least once to kick off the pending customization task. So, I reboot and it actually attempts to customize the OS. The black screen stating something like "VM customization in progress..." only stays up there for a quick second before it goes back to the Windows log on screen.

Alas, it didn't change anything. The new VM is the same machine as the original VM I cloned to template. Same name, etc.

I also read in another article that I have to disable the guest OS NIC adapters, which I tried on the original VM prior to cloning to template. Going through the same process above with disabled adapters in device manager, nothing changes - customization doesn't occur.

I attached the guestcut.txt to this post. Keep in mind that this attempt to deploy a VM from template was based off a template with the NIC adapters still enabled and with the machine not joined to a domain.

One more thing - we are having an issue getting our MAK key to activate over the internet. We do use a proxy server, but for some reason Windows either doesn't use the proxy when activating, or something else. We have to activate by phone.

I only say this because I know in the customization wizard it states that an activation key is required for server OS customization.

Please, any help on this would be great!

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3 Replies

I had this issue with customization, reason was I was quick to jump onto VM and disturb customization process. Wait for some more time before login to the VM and check the settings.


Thanks, Jo http://virtualcloudzz.blogspot.com.au/
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    vmtools in the template must be latest! And there are only three time for Windows OS to be customized! To check it, you will in the CMD to enter "slmgr /dlv" !


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VMware Employee
VMware Employee


You should not interact with the VM until you see "customization succeeded" or "customization failed" event on the VM's event tab. The other articles you mentioned are probably some workarounds for the issues which existed in the past. They shouldn't be normally required.

From the log you attached, I can see that you interrupted customization just in the middle of sysprep process. There is no error or anything. That process can take quite some time and even reboot the VM several times. It must finish before the VM will be fully customized and ready.

With regards to the key, you can actually leave it blank for Windows Vista and above.

Best Regards,


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