After creating a virtual machine that you plan to use as a golden image, configure the Windows environment.


  • Verify that you prepared a virtual machine to use for deploying remote desktops. See Creating a Virtual Machine for Cloning.

    The golden image can either belong to the same Active Directory domain as the domain that the desktop machines will join or be a member of a workgroup.

  • Verify that the virtual machine was not converted from an instant clone.
    Important: You also cannot use an instant clone as a golden image.
  • When you install Horizon Agent on the golden image, verify that the VMware Horizon Instant Clone Agent option for instant clones is selected. See Install Horizon Agent on a Virtual Machine.
  • To deploy Windows machines, configure a volume license key and activate the golden image virtual machine's operating system with volume activation. See Activating Windows on Instant Clones.
  • Verify that you followed the best practices for optimizing the operating system. See Optimize Guest Operating System Performance.
  • Familiarize yourself with the procedure for disabling searching Windows Update for device drivers. See the Microsoft Technet article, "Disable Searching Windows Update for Device Drivers" at


  • Verify that the system disk contains a single volume.
  • Verify that the virtual machine does not contain an independent disk. However, the golden image virtual machine can contain multiple disks.
    An independent disk is excluded when you take a snapshot of the virtual machine. Clones are based on a snapshot and therefore will not contain the independent disk.
  • Disable the hibernation option to reduce the size of each clone's virtual disk.
  • Before you take a snapshot of the golden image, disable searching Windows Update for device drivers.
    This Windows feature can interfere with the customization process. As each clone is customized, Windows might search for the best drivers on the Internet for that clone, resulting in delays.
  • In vSphere Client, disable the vApp Options setting on the golden image virtual machine.
  • On Windows Server 2012 R2 machines, disable the scheduled maintenance task that recovers disk space by removing unused features.
    For example: Schtasks.exe /change /disable /tn "\Microsoft\Windows\AppxDeploymentClient\Pre-staged app cleanup"
  • Disable the HotPlug capability on removable devices. See KB 1012225.

What to do next

Use vSphere Client to take a snapshot of the golden image virtual machine in its powered-down state. This snapshot is provides the base image for the clones.

Important: Before you take a snapshot, shut down the golden image virtual machine.