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 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. Select Menu > Policies and Profiles, and under Policies and Profiles, click VM Customization Specifications.
  2. Click the Create a new specification icon.

    The New VM Guest Customization Spec wizard opens.

  3. On the Name and target OS page, enter a name and description for the customization specification and select Windows as a target guest OS.
  4. (Optional) Select the Generate a new security identity (SID) option.

    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.

    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.

  5. Select Use Custom Sysprep Answer File and click Next.
  6. On the Custom sysprep file, 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.

  7. 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.

  8. If you chose to manually configure network settings, select a NIC from the list and click Edit to edit its network settings.
    1. In the Edit Network dialog box, click IPv4 to specify IPv4-related settings.
      • Select Use DHCP to obtain an IP address automatically if you want to use DHCP.

      • Select Prompt the user for an address when the specification is used if you want vCenter Serve to prompt you to enter an IP address. You can enter either an IPv4 or an IPv6 address.

      • Select Use the following IP address to enter the IPv4 address setting manually.

    2. Click IPv6 to configure the virtual machine to use IPv6 network.
      • Select Do not use IPv6 if you do not want to use IPv6.

      • Select the Use DHCP to obtain an IP address automatically option if you want to use DHCP.

      • Select Prompt the user for an address when the specification is used if you want vCenter Serve to prompt you to enter an IP address. You can enter either an IPv4 or an IPv6 address.

      • Select Use the following IPv6 addresses to choose an IPv6 address from the list. You can also add IPv6 addresses manually.

      The virtual machine can retain the IP address allocated from the network and IPv6 addresses. Microsoft supports IPv6 for Windows Server 2003, Windows XP with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later, and Windows CE .NET 4.1 or later. However, these operating systems have limited IPv6 support for built-in applications, system services, and are not recommended for IPv6 deployment.

      Note:

      Gateway is enabled by default, except when you select the Do not use IPv6 option.

    3. Click DNS to specify a DNS server address.
    4. Click WINS to specify primary and secondary WINS information.
    5. Click OK to save the configuration settings and exit the Edit Network wizard.
    6. Click Next.
  9. On the Ready to complete page, review the details and click Finish to save your changes.

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.