Video – How To Sysprep Then Create And Deploy Windows OVF/OVA in VMWare ESX

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Video – How To Sysprep Then Create And Deploy Windows OVF/OVA in VMWare ESX

Today we are going to use sysprep to prepare a Windows workstation for deployment and create an Open Virtualization Format Appliance. Then we are going to upload that OVA to the VMWare ESX datastore and deploy the image using the vSphere client.

Step-by-step instructions follow the video below.

Let’s start by logging into the workstation’s console on the vSphere client and running an elevated command prompt.

Click START and the type cmd. In the window, right-click on the cmd.exe and select “Run as Administrator”.



In the command prompt, change directory to the sysprep folder by typing “cd sysprep”. and run the sysprep command. In this case, I am going to generalize the image, setup the out-of-box-experience, and shutdown the virtual machine with the command: “sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown”.



Once the machine has shutdown, we’ll select the FILE>EXPORT>EXPORT OVF TEMPLATE menu item in the vShpere Client.


In the Export OVF Template dialogue, select the NAME, DIRECTORY, FORMAT and DESCRIPTION for your OVF/OVA and click “OK”


The export process will take some time to complete. Now ‘m going to upload this OVA file to the datastore in the VMWare ESX Server. Begin by selecting the ESX host and clicking on Configuration and then Storage. Right-click on your datastore and select Browse Datastore.


Now we can click the upload icon and upload our OVA file to the datastore. I’ll be uploading this one to a folder that I created to store OVA templates. Select the file we created earlier and click Open. We will see a dialogue box with the upload status while the file is transferred to the server’s datastore. This will take some time depending on the size of your OVA.



Once the upload is complete, we can return to the vSphere Client to deploy the sysprepped image. Select FILE>DEPLOY OVF TEMPLATE…. This will bring up the Deploy dialogue. We can click the browse button to deploy the OVA that is stored locally on our PC


Or we can enter the URL to the OVA template that is saved to our server’s datastore. To get the URL of the file, simply bring up a browser window and navigate to the ESX Server’s datastore. https://ip-address-of-server/folder. We will be prompted to login to the ESX Server. This will allow us to navigate down into the folder structure of the datastore.



Locate the OVA file that we uploaded to the datastore and right-click on the file and select “copy link location”.


Now back to the Deploy OVF Template dialogue box and we can simply paste the URL into the path and click next.


This will bring up the details of the template. We click next and now we can give the virtual machine a name.



Now we can select either of the disk provisioning methods available. I will select think provisioning lazy zeroed in this instance and click next.


In the ready to complete dialogue, we can select the check-box to automatically power on the machine when deployment is complete and click finish.


Once the deployment is complete, the new virtual machine will boot and we can setup the workstation.