Sysprep goes wrong on Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 7

This week I encountered a problem with Sysprepping a Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 VM after cloning. I cloned an existing VM and used a Customization Specification in vSphere vCenter for the Sysprep. When the Sysprepped Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 VM reboots, the following message appears:

Windows could not finish configuring the system. To attempt to resume configuration, restart the computer.

Every time when restarting the VM, the message appears. After some troubleshooting such as disable services and active software before the Sysprep I found Microsoft Knowledgebase article  β€œA Windows 7 or a Windows Server 2008 R2 image deployment process stops when you try to deploy the image on another computer” KB981542. It stated that the Sysprep problem occurs if the original operating system contains a registry key that is larger than 8 kilobytes (KB). After installing the hotfix I was able the Sysprep the Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 VM. The Sysprep problem occurs on Windows7 and Microsoft Windows 2008 R2.

Huge amount of VMware updates


Today when i woke up there where a lot of VMware updates available (to much to handle for one day πŸ™‚ ).  I did an upgrade of my lab environment, it went smooth with any issues. VMware did a great job with the new improvements! Here’s a list of improvements with some screenshots:

VMware ESX 4 Update 1 improvements:


VMware View 4.0 support – This release adds support for VMware View 4.0, a solution built specifically for delivering desktops as a managed service from the protocol to the platform.

Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 support – This release adds support for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 as well as 64-bit Windows 2008 R2 as guest OS platforms. In addition, the vSphere Client is now supported and can be installed on a Windows 7 platform. For a complete list of supported guest operating systems with this release, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Enhanced Clustering Support for Microsoft Windows – Microsoft Cluster Server (MSCS) for Windows 2000 and 2003 and Windows Server 2008 Failover Clustering is now supported on a VMware High Availability (HA) and Dynamic Resource Scheduler (DRS) cluster in a limited configuration. HA and DRS functionality can be effectively disabled for individual MSCS virtual machines as opposed to disabling HA and DRS on the entire ESX/ESXi host. Refer to the Setup for Failover Clustering and Microsoft Cluster Service guide for additional configuration guidelines.

Enhanced VMware Paravirtualized SCSI Support – Support for boot disk devices attached to a Paravirtualized SCSI ( PVSCSI) adapter has been added for Windows 2003 and 2008 guest operating systems. Floppy disk images are also available containing the driver for use during the Windows installation by selecting F6 to install additional drivers during setup. Floppy images can be found in the /vmimages/floppies/ folder.

Improved vNetwork Distributed Switch Performance – Several performance and usability issues have been resolved resulting in the following:

  • Improved performance when making configuration changes to a vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS) instance when the ESX/ESXi host is under a heavy load
  • Improved performance when adding or removing an ESX/ESXi host to or from a vDS instance
  • Increase in vCPU per Core Limit – The limit on vCPUs per core has been increased from 20 to 25. This change raises the supported limit only. It does not include any additional performance optimizations. Raising the limit allows users more flexibility to configure systems based on specific workloads and to get the most advantage from increasingly faster processors. The achievable number of vCPUs per core depends on the workload and specifics of the hardware. For more information see the Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere 4.0 guide.

Enablement of Intel Xeon Processor 3400 Series – Support for the Xeon processor 3400 series has been added. For a complete list of supported third party hardware and devices, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

The new VMware ESX 4 update 1 build is 208167



VMware vCenter Server 4.0 Update 1 improvements:


  • IBM DB2 Database Support for vCenter Server β€” This release adds support for IBM DB2 9.5 as the backend database platform for VMware vCenter Server 4.0. The following editions of IBM DB2 are supported:
    • IBM DB2 Enterprise 9.5
    • IBM DB2 Workgroup 9.5
    • IBM DB2 Express 9.5
    • IBM DB2 Express-C 9.5
  • VMware View 4.0 support β€” This release adds support for VMware View 4.0, a solution built specifically for delivering desktops as a managed service from the protocol to the platform.
  • Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 support β€” This release adds support for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 as well as 64-bit Windows 2008 R2 as guest operating system platforms. In addition, the vSphere Client is now supported and can be installed on a Windows 7 platform.
  • Pre-Upgrade Checker Tool β€” A standalone pre-upgrade checker tool is now available as part of the vCenter Server installation media that proactively checks ESX hosts for any potential issues that you might encounter while upgrading vCenter agents on these hosts as part of the vCenter Server upgrade process. You can run this tool independently prior to upgrading an existing vCenter Server instance. The tool can help identify any configuration, networking, disk space or other ESX host-related issues that could prevent ESX hosts from being managed by vCenter Server after a successful vCenter Server upgrade.


  • HA Cluster Configuration Maximum β€” HA clusters can now support 160 virtual machines per host in HA Cluster of 8 hosts or less. The maximum number of virtual machines per host in cluster sizes of 9 hosts and above is still 40, allowing a maximum of 1280 Virtual Machines per HA cluster.
    The new vCenter version and build is 4.0.0 build 208111



When choosing for Operating System for the vCenter server keep the following in your mind:


Future releases of VMware vCenter Server might not support installation on 32-bit Windows operating systems. VMware recommends installing vCenter Server on a 64-bit Windows operating system. If you have VirtualCenter 2.x installed, see the vSphere Upgrade Guide for instructions on installing vCenter Server on a 64-bit operating system and preserving your VirtualCenter database.



VMware Data Recovery (vDR) version 1.1 improvements:


File Level Restore Functionality is Officially Supported

  • File Level Restore (FLR) provides a way to access individual files within restore points for Windows virtual machines. In previous versions of Data Recovery, FLR was provided as an experimental feature. File Level Restore feature is now officially supported.

  • Integrity Check Stability and Performance Improved

    The integrity check process is faster and more stable. Note that integrity checks are computationally intensive processes and can take significant periods of time. The exact amount of time integrity checks take varies based on of the size of the deduplication store. Even with these enhancements, integrity checks that take several hours are not unexpected.

  • Integrity Checks Provides Improved Progress Information

    When an integrity check is running, a progress indicator is displayed. This progress indicator has been improved, although it does not provide the optimal level of detail.

  • Enhanced CIFS Shares Support

    File Level Restore (FLR) is a graphical client that can restore individual files.  Here are some screenshots of FLR:






    vSphere PowerCLI 4.0 Update 1 improvements:


    • Managing the failover and load-balancing policies of VirtualSwitch and VirtualPortGroup objects with Get-NicTeamingPolicy and Set-NicTeamingPolicy.

    • Copying files in and out of guest operating systems with Copy-VMGuestFile.

    • Restarting virtual machines with Restart-VM.

    • Managing the power state of hosts using Start-VMHost, Restart-VMHost, Suspend-VMHost, and Stop-VMHost.

    • Managing guest networks with Get-VMGuestNetworkInterface, Set-VMGuestNetworkInterface, Get-VMGuestRoute, New-VMGuestRoute, Remove-VMGuestRoute, and Set-VMGuestRoute.

    • Retrieving and removing USB devices with Get-UsbDevice and Remove-UsbDevice.

    • Managing NIC customization settings with Get-OSCustomizationNicMapping, New-OSCustomizationNicMapping, and Set-OSCustomizationNicMapping.

    • Handling virtual machine questions with Get-VMQuestion and Set-VMQuestion.

    • Working with host storages and iSCSI HBA devices with Get-VMHostHba, Set-VMHostHba, Get-iScsiHbaTarget, New-iScsiHbaTarget, Remove-iScsiHbaTarget, Set-iScsiHbaTarget, and Set-VMHostStorage.

    • Moving templates with Move-Template and Move-Inventory.

    • Managing the access control system with Get-VIPrivilege, Get-VIRole, New-VIRole, Remove-VIRole, Set-VIRole, Get-VIPermission, New-VIPermission, Remove-VIPermission, and Set-VIPermission.

    • Managing DRS recommendations with Get-DrsRecommendation and Apply-DrsRecommendation.

    • Upgrading hosts with Install-VMHostPatch.

    • Managing virtual appliances with Get-VApp, Export-VApp, Import-VApp, New-VApp, Remove-VApp, Set-VApp, Start-VApp, and Stop-VApp.

    • Managing PCI and SCSI passthrough devices with Add-PassthroughDevice, Get-PassthroughDevice, and Remove-PassthroughDevice.

    • Running BAT (Windows) and BASH (Linux) scripts with Invoke-VMScript.

    • Granting and revoking shell access with New-VMHostAccount and Set-VMHostAccount.

    • Uploading firmware packages with Set-VMHostFirmware.

    • Creating virtual machines with thin provisioned disks with New-VM.

    • Cloning powered-on virtual machines with New-VM.

    • Resizing virtual disks and guest partitions with Set-HardDisk.

    • Extending, cloning, inflating, and reallocating virtual hard disks with Copy-HardDisk, New-HardDisk, and Set-HardDisk.

    • Managing the host time zones with Get-VMHostAvailableTimeZone and Set-VMHost.

    • Working with default Datastore Provider and Inventory Provider drives.

    • Working with files and directories in datastores by using the Datastore Provider.



    Download is available here.


    VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat 5.5 Update 2 improvements:


    The features available depend on the version of vCenter Server installed.

    • Support for Windows Server 2008 SP1 and SP2 (x86/x64) β€” VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat now supports running on Windows Server 2008 SP1 and SP2 (including x86 and x64 versions) operating systems.
    • Support for Windows Server 2003 Enterprise SP2 (x64) β€” VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat now supports running on the Windows Server 2003 Enterprise SP2 (x64) operating system.
    • Protection of VMware vCenter Management Web Services β€” This release of VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat adds the vCenter Management Web Server to its list of protected vCenter Server components.
    • Introduction of the WinZip Self-Extracting executable file for Setup β€” Installation and setup of VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat is initiated through the use of a WinZip Self-Extracting executable file.
    • 60-day evaluation mode β€” This release of VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat provides a built-in 60-day evaluation mode that is triggered from the date of installation. Either prior to or upon expiration of the 60-day evaluation period, administrators will need to provide a valid license key to continue to leverage VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat functionality.
    • Tomcat Monitoring Rule β€” A new rule has been added for vCenter 4.0 Tomcat Web Server availability.
    • Note: The term vSphere Client is applicable to both vSphere Client and VI Client except where VI Client is specifically stated.


    The next new version will probably the View 4 release on Monday.


    Microsoft TechDays Belgium

    The last three days i attended Microsoft TechDays in Antwerpen (Belgium). The first day (pre-conference) was dedicated to Windows 2008 R2. The other 2 days I attended sessions such as Windows 7, Powershell V2, SYSVOL replication and Remote Desktop Services (former Terminal Services). Here is an short overview:

    – Windows 2008 R2 will be released in 64-bit version only.

    All new Windows server product can be managed through Powershell  Powershell 2 is default installed on Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 7. In Powershell 2 you can remote manage your computers.

    Active Directory Recycle Bin, when you deleted an AD object, it is possible to easily restore this object through Powershell. Default this feature is disabled! More information can be found here

    – Windows 2008 Core contains .NET and  Powershell 2.0 support

    – In Windows 2008 the SYSVOL replication goes through DFS-R, in earlier versions FRS is used. One great benefit is that DFS-R is faster because it only replicates the changed bits, FRS copies the whole file that is changed. If your DC is upgraded to Windows 2008 you can migrate from FRS to DFS-R. More information can be found here.

    Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV),   this is a feature for Failover clustering. It allows multiple VMs to be running on a single LUN (volume). CSV uses the NTFS file system. With CSV it is possible to do Live Migration (Hyper-V) of VMs without downtime. Live Migration is the VMotion feature from Microsoft.




    BranchCache, caches WAN bandwidth for HTTP and SMB traffic at the branche office network. This improves the response times and reduces WAN  traffic.

    With the distributed cache option the cache is placed on other computers on the branche network. With the Hosted cache option the cache is placed on a Windows 2008 R2 server on the branche office.  BranchCache can only be used in Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2.

    More information can be found here.

    Direct Access, get instant access to your corporate network without establish a VPN connection. Direct Access uses IPSEC and IPv6.  DirectAccess can only be used in Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2. More information can be found Here.

    Terminal Services is renamed in Remote Desktop Services (RDS). It will be used for SBC and VDI.

    – The Remote Deskop Virtualization (RD Virtualization) is a special role that integrates with Hyper-V and used for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) desktops.

    – The connection broker is called Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker).

    – Windows Vista and Windows 7 can be used as desktop for VDI.

    – The RDP protocol is improved with rich multimedia, 3D rendering, real multi-monitor support (no span) and two way audio redirection, VOIP applications such as Skype can be used.

    More information can be found here.

    Windows 7

    – Homegroup, an easy way to share your Pictures, Videos, Documents, Music and printers

    – Most software that worked on Vista will work on Windows7, except software with low level drivers such as Anti-virus and firewall software.

    – New look for WordPad, Calculator and Paint

    – Boot from VHD, this allows to set up multiple boot VHD.

    – There is a now a slider for User Account Control (UAC), with the slider you can set the level from Never notify to Always notifty . This is also possible with Windows 2008 R2.  


    – Bitlocker-to-go, encrypt data on USB thumb drives. With Bitlocker it is possible to encrypt your root system drive, first available in Vista. From Vista Sp1 is was also possible to encrypt other drives than the root drive. This is also possible with Windows 2008 R2.

    – Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), contains InPrivate Browsing helps prevent Internet Explorer from storing data about your browsing session. This includes cookies, temporary Internet files, history, and other data. Toolbars and extensions are disabled by default. This is also possible with Windows 2008 R2.

    – AppLocker, prevent unauthorized software from running.


    This is also possible with Windows 2008 R2.

    – Problem Step Recorder, tool to troubleshoot a problem, it records the steps and exports this to a MHT file. The MHT file contains screenshots off every step.


    This is also possible with Windows 2008 R2.

    – Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) version 2010 will support Microsoft 2008 R2 and Windows 7.

    MDT is process and toolset to automate desktop and server deployment. MDT 2010 is now available in public beta.  The Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool replaces the pkgmgr, PEImg, and IntlConfg tools that are being retired in Windows 7. DISM provides a single centralized tool for performing all of the functions of these three tools in a more efficient and standardized way, eliminating the source of many of the frustrations experienced by current users of these tools.