Customize Windows Server 2012 and sysprep – step 3

You’re reading the blog post series ”Creating a Windows 2012 VM Template with SCVMM 2012

In my previous step you installed Windows Server 2012. Now we are going to fine-tune the OS. Set all those nasty little settings that you always have to set manually. This may be one of the hardest decisions to make in the “VM Template journey”, because it’s time-consuming when you forget something. You’ll then have to recreate the template (which is shortly shown in step 4).

To help you along the way, these are one of my default steps:

– Enable firewall rules, like ICMP (ping), file and printer sharing, remote management, WMI
– Enable remote desktop
– Install all critical patches from Microsoft update

Be careful not to set too many things. Remember you can always use Group Policy Objects to set most things. In addition, Roles and Features can be installed using the Guest OS Profile, so it’s (often) best to leave these alone.

Once you’re done, execute the following command from a command prompt (Administrator) to Generalize the machine:

%windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown /mode:vm

Sysprep with /mode:vm

The /mode:vm is a new parameter. When you use this parameter, sysprep will skip the reset of the hardware information. This will speed up the first boot of a deployed VM. However, the VM will not be compatible on a hypervisor with variant hardware. If unsure, it’s best to use without: %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown

After running sysprep, the machine will shut down. It’s time for step 4: Convert the VM to a VM template!

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