In the process of deploying a new virtual machine from a template or cloning an existing virtual machine, you can customize Linux 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, start the Customization wizard when you clone a virtual machine or deploy one from a template. See Clone a Virtual Machine in the vSphere Client or Deploy a Virtual Machine from a Template in the vSphere Client.


On the Select clone options page of the Clone Existing Virtual Machine wizard, select Customize the operating system and click Next.


Enter the guest operating system's computer name.

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



Enter a 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 not case-sensitive.


(Optional) To ensure that the name is unique, select Append a numeric value to ensure uniqueness. This action appends a hyphen followed by a numeric value to the virtual machine name. The name is truncated if it exceeds 63 characters when combined with the numeric value.

Use the virtual machine 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. If the name exceeds 63 characters, it is truncated.

Enter a name in the Clone/Deploy wizard

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

Generate a name using the custom application configured with vCenter Server

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


Enter the Domain Name for the computer and click Next.


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


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 the ellipsis button (...) .


Enter IP address and other network settings and click OK.


When all network interfaces are configured, click Next.


Enter DNS and domain settings.


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.

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

When the new virtual machine starts for the first time, the guest operating system runs finalization scripts to complete the customization process. The virtual machine might restart several times during this process.

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

If the new virtual machine encounters customization errors while it is starting, the errors are reported using the guest’s system logging mechanism. View the errors by opening /var/log/vmware-imc/toolsDeployPkg.log.