Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

How to Deploy a Windows 2008 Server From a Template with vSphere


With ESX 3.5 and Virtual Centre 2.5 you needed to copy a bunch of sysprep files to use the excellent template deployment functionality (step by step account here)

Now that vSphere supports all the newer versions I had to update my Windows 2008 templates


There has been some confusion over how you deploy Windows 2008/Vista from a template in vSphere Virtual Center 4.0 and have it sysprep’d ready for use. The good news is – you don’t need to do anything special; you don’t need to put sysprep in a particular directory on the VC box as in Windows 2008 & Vista as there is no longer a separate sysprep download, it’s built into the default Windows OS installation


Just use the customization specification manager and it can even set the IP address of your new virtual machine as part of the template deployment.


Under the hood it injects a sysprep unattended/answer file into the OS as it boots and does all the customisations for you based on the specification you created/imported from vCenter 2.5


So all you need to do is get your master VM built with the OS, patched,  VMtools installed and you can shut it down, convert to template and then just use the deploy from template wizard going forward.

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7 responses to “How to Deploy a Windows 2008 Server From a Template with vSphere

  1. Pingback: Windows Server 2008 Deploy From Template Guest Customization Update | VM /ETC

  2. Pingback: It’s voting time.. « Virtualization, Windows, Infrastructure and all that “stuff” in-between

  3. Pingback: How to Deploy a Windows 2008 Server From a Template with vSphere | My-Technet

  4. Pingback: Location of Sysprep Files When you Install vCenter on a Windows 2008 Server « Virtualization, Windows, Infrastructure and all that “stuff” in-between

  5. powderhound October 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks great article. When I deploy a Windows 2008 R2 server from the template using customization specification it still asks me to change\set the administrator password. How can I get round this?

  6. Wayne September 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    The customization specification on Windows 2008 R2 has never worked for me!!! doesn’t get renamed, doesn’t join the domain or get an IP address! Not as simple as you say ….

  7. September 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Wayne, check what network your template is attached to when it deploys, I’ve had that cause silent errors as it can’t find the DHCP/DNS/DC and complete the process – other than that never had an issue

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