In the process of deploying a new virtual machine from a template or cloning an existing virtual machine, you can customize Windows guest operating systems for the virtual machine.

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

To perform this procedure, launch the Customization wizard when cloning a virtual machine or deploying from a template. See Clone a Virtual Machine or Deploy a Virtual Machine from a Template.


Type the virtual machine owner’s name and organization and click Next.


Specify how to determine the guest operating system's computer name and click Next.

The operating system uses this name to identify itself on the network. On Linux systems, it is called the host name.



Use a specific name


Type a name.

The name can contain alphanumeric characters and the hyphen (-) character. It cannot contain periods (.) or blank spaces and cannot be made up of digits only. Names are case-insensitive.


(Optional) To ensure that the name is unique, select Append a numeric value to ensure uniqueness. This appends a hyphen followed by a numeric value to the virtual machine name.

Use the virtual machine’s name

The computer name that vCenter Server creates is identical to the name of the virtual machine on which the guest operating system is running.

Prompt the user for a name in the Deploy wizard

The vSphere Client prompts you to enter a name after the cloning or deployment is complete.

Use a custom application configured with vCenter Server to generate a name

Enter a parameter that can be passed to the custom application.


Provide licensing information for the Windows operating system and click Next.



For non-server operating systems

Type the Windows product key for the new guest operating system.

For server operating systems


Type the Windows product key for the new guest operating system.


Select Include Server License Information.


Select either Per seat or Per server.


(Optional) If you selected Per server, enter the maximum number of simultaneous connections you want the server to accept.


Configure the administrator password for the virtual machine and click Next.


Type a password for the administrator account, and confirm the password by typing it again.


You can change the administrator password only if the administrator password on the source Windows virtual machine is blank. If the source Windows virtual machine or template already has a password, the administrator password does not change.


(Optional) To log users into the guest operating system as Administrator, select the check box, and select the number of times to log in automatically.


Select the time zone for the virtual machine and click Next.


(Optional) On the Run Once page, specify commands to be run the first time a user logs into the guest operating system and click Next.

See the Microsoft Sysprep documentation for more information on Run Once commands.


Select the type of network settings to apply to the guest operating system.



Typical settings

Select Typical settings and click Next.

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

Custom settings


Select Custom settings and click Next.


For each network interface in the virtual machine, click ....


Enter IP address and other network settings and click OK.


When all network interfaces are configured, click Next.


Select how the virtual machine will participate in the network and click Next.




Type a workgroup name. (For example, MSHOME)

Windows Server Domain


Type the domain name.


Type the user name and password for a user account that has permission to add a computer to the specified domain.


(Optional) 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.

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.


(Optional) Save the customized options as an .xml file:


Select Save this customization specification for later use.


Specify the filename for the specification and click Next.


Click Finish to save your changes and exit the Guest Customization wizard.

You return to the Deploy Template or Clone Virtual Machine wizard. The customization is carried out after you complete the Deploy Template or Clone Virtual Machine wizard.

When the new virtual machine boots for the first time, the guest operating system runs finalization scripts to complete the customization process. The virtual machine might reboot a number of times during this process.

If the guest operating system pauses when the new virtual machine boots, it might be waiting for you to correct errors, such as an incorrect product key or invalid user name. Open the virtual machine’s console to determine whether the system is waiting for information.

After deploying and customizing non-volume-licensed versions of Windows XP or Windows 2003, you might need to reactivate your operating system on the new machine.

If the new virtual machine encounters customization errors while it is booting, the errors are logged to %WINDIR%\temp\vmware-imc. To view the error log, click the Windows Start button and select Programs > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer.