A custom sysprep answer file is a file that stores various customization settings such as computer name, licensing information, and workgroup or domain settings. You can supply a custom sysprep answer file as an alternative to specifying many of the settings in the Guest Customization wizard.

Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP use a text file called sysprep.inf. Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 use an XML file called sysprep.xml. You can create these files using a text editor, or you can use the Microsoft Setup Manager utility to generate them. For more information about how to create a custom sysprep answer file, see the documentation for the relevant operating system.

You can prevent Windows from assigning new virtual machines or templates with the same Security IDs (SIDs) as the original virtual machine. Duplicate SIDs do not cause problems when the computers are part of a domain and only domain user accounts are used. However, if the computers are part of a Workgroup or local user accounts are used, duplicate SIDs can compromise file access controls. For more information, see the documentation for your Microsoft Windows operating system.

Prerequisites

Ensure that all requirements for customization are met. See Guest Operating System Customization Requirements.

Procedure

  1. In the vSphere Web Client inventory, select Rules and Profiles > Customization Specification Manager and click VM Customization Specifications.
  2. Click the Create New Specification icon.
  3. Click the Create a new specification icon.

    The New VM Guest Customization Spec wizard opens.

  4. On the Specify Properties page, select Windows from the Target VM Operating System menu.
  5. Select the Use custom SysPrep answer file check box.
  6. Under Customization Specification Information, enter a name for the specification and an optional description and click Next.
  7. On the Use Custom Sysprep File page, select the option to import or create a sysprep answer file and click Next.

    Option

    Description

    Import a Sysprep answer file

    Click Browse and browse to the file.

    Create a Sysprep answer file

    Type the contents of the file in the text box.

  8. On the Network page, select the type of network settings to apply to the guest operating system.

    Option

    Description

    Use standard network settings for the guest operating system, including enabling DHCP on all network interfaces

    vCenter Server configures all network interfaces from a DHCP server using default settings.

    Manually select custom settings

    You can specify the IP address and other network settings for each network interface in the virtual machine.

  9. On the Configure Network page, select the type of network settings to apply to the guest operating system.

    Option

    Description

    Use standard network settings for the guest operating system, including enabling DHCP on all network interfaces

    vCenter Server configures all network interfaces from a DHCP server using default settings.

    Manually select custom settings

    You can specify the IP address and other network settings for each network interface in the virtual machine.

  10. If you use custom settings, customize the network properties for each NIC and click Next.
    1. Select a NIC from the list and click the pencil icon to edit its settings.

      The Edit Network dialog box opens.

    2. To specify IPv4 related settings, select IPv4 and enter an IP address and other network settings.
    3. To specify IPv6 related settings, select IPv6 and configure the virtual machine to use IPv6 network.
    4. To specify a DNS server address, select DNS and provide a DNS server address.
    5. To specify primary and secondary WINS information, select WINS and provide WINS information. For a list of
    6. Click OK.
      Important:

      For virtual machines whose operating system is Windows Vista and later, those network customization specifications are not applied. You must specify the network settings in the sysprep file. For more information, see VMware KB article 1029174 at https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1029174.

  11. On the Set Operating System Options page, Select Generate New Security ID (SID) and click Next.

    A Windows Security ID (SID) is used in some Windows operating systems to uniquely identify systems and users. If you do not select this option, the new virtual machine has the same SID as the virtual machine or template from which it was cloned or deployed.

  12. On the Ready to complete page, review your selections and click Finish.

Results

The customization specification that you created is listed in the Customization Specification Manager. You can use the specification to customize virtual machine guest operating systems.