Since Windows Vista, the SysPrep package has been “built-in” to Windows, and is generally to be located within C:\Windows\System32\sysprep. Prior to this change all previous Microsoft Windows OSes shipped with a version of Sysprep that was either on the original CD-ROM .iso or downloadable from Microsoft website. Additionally, Microsoft released more than one version of Sysprep for Windows based on their releases of Services Packs. For these older legacy Windows editions the SysAdmin will need to located the SysPrep packages into a folder structure on the Windows vCenter, or upload them as bundle on the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA). This is because unlike other freely downloadable software from Microsoft, Sysprep is not free distributable by third-parties such as VMware.

If this task is not completed the option to use Guest Customization options during the creation of a VM from a template where the source is an older legacy Windows operating system will not be available:

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The VMware KB1005593 outlines this issue as well offering links to all the different version of Sysprep that Microsoft has released. These can be downloaded in their .EXE format, and extracted with the /X switch the Sysprep.exe file is found in a usually contained in a folder. Once sysprep has been extracted they can be copied to appropriate folder at C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Sysprep on the Windows vCenter.

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In the case of the VCSA the appliance pages which are available on port 5480 offers a button to upload the SysPrep packages there:

1. Login as root to the VCSA at https://<your-vcenter-fqdn>:5480

2. In the vCenter Server tab, and Summary column locate the pane called Utilities which contains the button to Upload Sysprep files

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The UI allows the SysAdmin to select each directory (XP, srv2003 and so on) and using the Browse button locate the correct version of SysPrep for each respective Windows edition in use. When carrying out this upload process every file found in the file along side the core Sysprep.exe must be upload as well.

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Sadly, the upload engine does not support multiple select to upload all the files. You may find it more efficient to use the SCP protocol with a utility like WinSCP to copy across the Sysprep Files. The directory where these files are held on the VCSA is /etc/vmware-vpx/sysprep, and each OS type has a corresponding directory that is similar to the Windows version of vCenter.

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