A reference machine is used to create a standard desktop base layer for a set of CVDs. A base layer on the reference machine usually includes operating system updates, service packs and patches, corporate applications for all target users to use, and corporate configuration and policies.

The reference machine used for app layer capture does not generally require advance preparation. Certain guidelines apply for special circumstances. A base layer does not have to be present on the reference machine for app layer capture purposes. For more information, see Prepare a Reference Machine for App Layer Capture and Recreate a Reference Machine from a Base Layer.