dwilli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Customize guest OS for 2008 server

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Is anything available to customize the guest OS for 2008 server yet?

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Jasemccarty
Immortal
Immortal

dwilli,

If you have a Windows 2008 guest that you wish to customize, it is fairly easy to do in VirtualCenter.

The sysprep.xml file is automatically generated by VirtualCenter, and does not require any additional tools from Microsoft, as they got smart, and included it in the base build of Windows Vista/2008.

Unfortunately, VC won't customize a Windows 2008 guest... But it will customize a Windows Vista guest. Because they are a similar architecture (if not almost identical), changing the guest type to Vista, will allow you to customize a Windows 2008 guest.

All you have to do, is change the guest you wish to clone, or the template, to be configured as a Windows Vista guest.

You can then customize the guest (2008) the same way you would Windows Vista. When you are done deploying the guest, before you power it on, change it to be configured as a Windows 2008 guest.

That's it.

Jase McCarty

http://www.jasemccarty.com

Co-Author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center

(ISBN:1420070274) from Auerbach

Jase McCarty - Field SA @PureStorage - @jasemccarty

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22 Replies
demz
Expert
Expert

I've heard that there's no more sysprep in 2008 / vista...

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Troy_Clavell
Immortal
Immortal

here is a good .pdf to look at.

2008 is in experimental support

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/GuestOS_guide.pdf

dwilli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

sysprep for 2008 still exists but is now an xml file.

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demz
Expert
Expert

Ok Smiley Happy

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John_S1
Enthusiast
Enthusiast
MS released an AutoInstall Kit that may help...
[http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=94bb6e34-d890-4932-81a5-5b50c657de08&displaylang=en]
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dwilli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks, I downloaded that and am looking at it. Its a big one.

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Jasemccarty
Immortal
Immortal

dwilli,

If you have a Windows 2008 guest that you wish to customize, it is fairly easy to do in VirtualCenter.

The sysprep.xml file is automatically generated by VirtualCenter, and does not require any additional tools from Microsoft, as they got smart, and included it in the base build of Windows Vista/2008.

Unfortunately, VC won't customize a Windows 2008 guest... But it will customize a Windows Vista guest. Because they are a similar architecture (if not almost identical), changing the guest type to Vista, will allow you to customize a Windows 2008 guest.

All you have to do, is change the guest you wish to clone, or the template, to be configured as a Windows Vista guest.

You can then customize the guest (2008) the same way you would Windows Vista. When you are done deploying the guest, before you power it on, change it to be configured as a Windows 2008 guest.

That's it.

Jase McCarty

http://www.jasemccarty.com

Co-Author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center

(ISBN:1420070274) from Auerbach

Jase McCarty - Field SA @PureStorage - @jasemccarty

View solution in original post

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dwilli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Sounds reasonable, I am trying it now. Thanks!

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Jasemccarty
Immortal
Immortal

I've used this method successfully in ESX 3.5 Update 1/VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 1.

Jase McCarty

http://www.jasemccarty.com

Co-Author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center

(ISBN:1420070274) from Auerbach

Jase McCarty - Field SA @PureStorage - @jasemccarty
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dwilli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Have you had any issue with the pasword setting in the customization options for 2008? I cant get my password to take. I tried a blank password and it filled in a default password of the "*".

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Jasemccarty
Immortal
Immortal

I don't believe I have had any password issues.

I'll try to find some time, and kick one out to test it.

Jase McCarty

http://www.jasemccarty.com

Co-Author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center

(ISBN:1420070274) from Auerbach

Jase McCarty - Field SA @PureStorage - @jasemccarty
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dwilli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I tried setting an admin password and could never log into the VM. Then I tried to leave it blank and it warned me on it and put a single * in the space for the password. After the system went thru the sysprep I need to enter the * as my password even though I did not enter it in the field of the cusomization file.

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mattjk
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

If you have a Windows 2008 guest that you wish to customize, it is fairly easy to do in VirtualCenter.

The sysprep.xml file is automatically generated by VirtualCenter, and does not require any additional tools from Microsoft, as they got smart, and included it in the base build of Windows Vista/2008.

Unfortunately, VC won't customize a Windows 2008 guest... But it will customize a Windows Vista guest. Because they are a similar architecture (if not almost identical), changing the guest type to Vista, will allow you to customize a Windows 2008 guest.

All you have to do, is change the guest you wish to clone, or the template, to be configured as a Windows Vista guest.

You can then customize the guest (2008) the same way you would Windows Vista. When you are done deploying the guest, before you power it on, change it to be configured as a Windows 2008 guest.A couple of words of warning:

1) This doesn't appear to work for 64-bit Windows 2008 - if you switch to the VM to Vista 64-bit before converting to a template you can run through the customisation wizard when deploying it, but the customisations aren't applied, new SIDs aren't generated, etc.

2) After trying this with 64-bit Windows 2008, during every subsequent reboot (not just the first), a screen is briefly displayed stating "VMWare Image customization is in progress...". This may be inconsequential (it may not be doing anything), but it's a bit concerning for a production VM.

Both of these were observed with ESX 3.5 Update 2 and VirtualCenter 3.5 Update 2.

Cheers,

Matt

Cheers, Matt
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John_S1
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I have tested this with Windows 2008 64 bit using ESX 3.5 Update 2 and VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 2 - it works fine here.

I did notice that it stated customization failed, but when I checked the logs it failed on a file delete.

Multiple reboots show no signs of the customization wizard running more than once. SID was changed.

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mattjk
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

> I have tested this with Windows 2008 64 bit using ESX 3.5 Update 2 and VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 2 - it works fine here.

Interesting - wonder why it's not working here.

Is this the procedure you're following:

1) Set-up VM to use as template

2) Change VM guest OS to Vista 64-bit

3) Convert to template

4) Deploy new VM from template and perform customisations

5) Before first boot of newly deployed VM, change guest OS type back to Windows 2008 64-bit

Cheers, Matt
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John_S1
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

That is the exact procedure.

I wonder if it has something to do with what you are doing in the customization?

Also, the win2k8 server template machine was not licensed - if that helps.

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K-MaC
Expert
Expert

You dont by chance have Norton or Mcafee antivirus programs installed on the template do you? Ive run into major troubles when i've had them installed on my templates and try to use customization when cloning.

Cheers Kevin
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DBYRDJR
Contributor
Contributor

As usual, I'm sure I'm in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Get Vista Ultimate to install as VM - check

Convert to a template - check

Find a copy of the sysprep.xml - still twisting in the wind

The thing that's tripping me up is Jasemccarty's statement "...automatically generated by VirtualCenter...". If this is the case, where is that puppy? I do see in the usual 'sysprep' area an XP-64 that wasn't there when I started. Darn thing is empty.

Appreciate any insights anyone might have.

Don Byrd

Not stupid - just very slow!!!

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Jasemccarty
Immortal
Immortal

Hey DBYRDJR...

On a Windows Vista/Windows 2008 guest, look at this directory: "c:\windows\system32\sysprep\"

All that is needed, is located in there (that is, inside the guest).

The customization package (only in a Vista guest right now), invokes the sysprep.exe in that location inside the guest.

That's all there is to it.

Jase McCarty

http://www.jasemccarty.com

Co-Author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center

(ISBN:1420070274) from Auerbach

Jase McCarty - Field SA @PureStorage - @jasemccarty
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