madcult
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

cd-rom drive letter changes in guest os after deploying a W2K3-R2 template

Hi,

I had to deploy a virtual machine from our gold template. Guest os of this template is W2K3 R2 and we have an ESX 3.5 server and VirtualCenter 2.5.

Our requirements are to use special drive letters e.g. "Z" for cd-rom drive. So it is in our gold template.

We have the following partitions:

C: Windows

E: Software

F: Special

Z: cd-rom

After deploying a new virtual machine all the letters have been reallocated.

Strange to say why but it changed to:

C: Windows

😧 Software

E: Special

F: cd-rom

Why does it change? In our "old" environment something like that never happened.

Has anybody else seen such a behaviour?

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13 Replies
jgalexan
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Not everything will be identical in the newly deployed VM. Drive letters, Partition Names (D:\ - Data), Virtual memory settings are 3 items that I have found need to be manually reset after deploying a VM from a template. I am sure there are a few more items, but these are the ones I have found.

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kjb007
Immortal
Immortal

Are you customizing the VM as you deploy it? Meaning, applying a Customization Specification. If so, you should be able to look at the sysprep file and see if it is causing you issues. If it is, you should be able to modify a sysprep file yourself to overcome this issue.

vExpert/VCP/VCAP vmwise.com / @vmwise -KjB
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madcult
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Yes we customize our VMs when we deploy them but there is nothing I can change concerning to drive letters.

The point is: If I deploy a VM with W2K3 everything is fine. If I deploy a VM with W2K3 R2 drive letters change. The rest is okay. Both customization specifications are identical except of the installation key.

Could it be that sysprep.exe on my VirtualCenter server is not the correct one? There should be one for R2 I believe. I will check it.

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madcult
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

We use that syspre.exe version:

5.2.3790.1830 (srv03_sp1_rtm.050324-1447)

Seems for me to be the latest.

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madcult
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I've updated to sysprep 5.2.3790.3959 (srv03_sp2_rtm.070216-1710). Still having the same problem.

Any idea?

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RParker
Immortal
Immortal

Sysprep reverts everything to defaults. That's why time zone, cd rom drive letters, some performance settings etc.. are reverted to default after a deploy.

This is a sysprep issue and not a VM Ware configuration issue. You should search for sysprep configuration on google to located customize sysprep settings. Then you have to modify those settings on the VC when it deploys a VM to retain your customized settings.

I think you will find it's much simpler to remember to set your CD drive letters after a deployment, sysprep has many configuration options and you could be here all day trying to change 1 thing, when it's a simply thing to fix manually.

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madcult
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks!

Why does sysprep revert settings, letters etc. in W2K3 R2 but not in W2K3?

Your advise to change drive letters after deployment might be an option but what if we have to install backup software on drive E: in our template? After deployment this software wouldn't start anymore if drive letters change.

If we have to set it up manually it would be a big step backwards for us. That's really bad.

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jgalexan
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I agree there is a flaw in a Microsoft product (shocker), but I am running W2K3 (not R2) and I have to reset my drive letters. I also have to add any Drive names as well. I have yet to find a different way of build to overcome this issue.

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madcult
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

@jgalexan

I wonder why you have problems. If you use W2K3 and have maybe the same version of sysprep like we have you should not have a problem like this, should you? This would mean to me that in each installation it is a fluke whether you have to change options and drive letters etc.

I believe that it is neither a sysprep problem nor a Microsoft problem. I believe that it depends on VirtualCenter. In my opinion there must be a new order within the VirtualCenter 2.5 customization specification which says something like "reallocate drive letters and names" or something like that.

We need to talk to VMware, I think.

Sorry for my bad english.

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madcult
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Maybe it is a new feature from Microsoft to make VMware user angry...

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madcult
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

What I have tested:

1)

VirtualCenter-Server 2.0.1 Build 32042

installed on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2

using Oracle database 10g

1.1)

Deployed VM: Microsoft Windows Server 2003

sysprep: 5.2.3790.1830 (srv03_sp1_rtm.050324-1447)

Result: no problems

1.2)

Deployed VM: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2

sysprep: 5.2.3790.1830 (srv03_sp1_rtm.050324-1447)

Result: no problems

2)

VirtualCenter-Server 2.5.0 Build 64192

installed on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2

using Oracle database 10g

2.1)

Deployed VM: Microsoft Windows Server 2003

sysprep: 5.2.3790.1830 (srv03_sp1_rtm.050324-1447)

Result: no problems

2.2)

Deployed VM: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2

sysprep: 5.2.3790.1830 (srv03_sp1_rtm.050324-1447)

Result: have to change drive letters

2.3)

Deployed VM: Microsoft Windows Server 2003

sysprep: 5.2.3790.3959 (srv03_sp2_rtm.070216-1710)

Result: no problems

2.4)

Deployed VM: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2

sysprep: 5.2.3790.3959 (srv03_sp2_rtm.070216-1710)

Result: have to change drive letters

Test shows that in VirtualCenter 2.0.1 everything was fine. In VirtualCenter 2.5 I have to change drive letters. So it is a problem with VMware, isn't it?

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kjb007
Immortal
Immortal

Until there is a "fix", try this. In your customization spec, there is a run once section. Use these commands to assign the z: letter.

Run diskpart in your template and type list volume, and figure out which volume is your cd rom

Create a file on your c: drive in your template: c:\assign.txt

In your assign.txt file, type in below:

select volume 5

assign letter z

In run once section, type in diskpart /s c:\assign.txt

Hope that helps. Not a fix of the problem, but it should do what you want.

-KjB

vExpert/VCP/VCAP vmwise.com / @vmwise -KjB
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admin
Immortal
Immortal

Question:

Why does this happen only after upgrading to vc 2.5 ?

Answer:

Customization in VC 2.0 doesn't rely on Microsoft's sysprep utility but

it rather simulates it using a "hack" which is not supported by

Microsoft.

For VC 2.5 it had been decided to customize windows guests

only using Microsoft Sysprep utility as this is the only tool supported

by Microsoft for customizing windows OS.

And here is why this is happening with sysprep.

Summary of the limitations of the System Preparation tool

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/830958/en-us

Sysprep can only be run on an installation that resides in

the C: partition. Sysprep does

not support creating images of computers that have multiple

partitions.

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