How to customize your vmware guest you created using template

VMware templates are great for deploying guest OSes. Once you created the templates and deployed the guest OS you need to make sure they have unique IP address, host name, etc. Easiest way to accomplish this is to use the sysprep and the answer file.

Getting the sysprep and installing sysprep

First, you will need to get a copy of the sysprep.exe. Be ware that each version of the OS will require different version of the sysprep.exe. In other words, Windows XP sysprep.exe will be different from the Windows Vista sysprep.exe, so make sure you grab the proper one for each OS. Head over to this link to get the sysprep from the Microsoft website.

Copy the sysprep.exe and other files to proper location on the vcenter PC.

  • If vCenter Server is installed on Windows Server 2008 and above, <directory_path> is%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Sysprepwhich generally translates toC:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Sysprep by default.Note: C:\ProgramData may be a hidden folder.
  • If vCenter Server is installed on any other Windows operating system, <directory_path> is%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Sysprep\ which generally translates to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Sysprep\ by default.

Creating an Answer file

From your vCenter go to Home and run the Customization Specifications Manager under the Management.

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Create an answer file using the tool. Answer all the necessary questions.

Deploying a machine

Deploy normally, but when you’re in the Guest Customization screen, select the Customize using the existing customization specification option and select the customization profile you created in the previous step. Check the Power on this virtual machine after creation option if you want the machine to start as soon as the machine is deployed. The machine will automatically run the sysprep and get the customized settings as necessary.

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