How to make multiple copies of the guest OS in ESxi

Posted on 2011-04-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I need multiple copies of Windows sever 2008 R2.  I have installed a copy.  Is there anyway to make multiple copy of the same OS.
Question by:tommym121
    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    Are you using the Virtual Centre Server?

    If so i would just Sysprep the OS (  and then turn it into a template.  You can then create a new guest from the template.
    LVL 30

    Assisted Solution

    LVL 116

    Expert Comment

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    do you have vSphere Vcenter to create templates or is this just standalone ESXi?
    LVL 40

    Accepted Solution

    If you have vCenter, you can log into vCenter, rt-click on your VM then choose 'Clone' to make an exact copy of your VM. Or, you can rt-click on the VM and choose Template -> Convert to Template (Convert I believe is greyed out if your VM is powered on...VM has to be off). A Template will make your VM a 'source' copy VM that you can create many VMs from. You can rt-click on your Template and select 'Deploy Virtual Machine From Template' to create a new VM from the Template.

    If you don't have vCenter (maybe have free ESXi?), you have a couple options - using Veeam FastSCP (free tool: to make a copy of your VM, or you can use vCenter Converter Standalone to convert/copy your VM (

    LVL 28

    Assisted Solution

    On your 2008 R2 open Windows Explorer and browse to C:\Windows\System32\sysprep

    Double click on sysprep, check the generalize box, select shutdown in the shutdown options dropdown, then click OK.

    This will prepare your system for cloneing (However you decide to do it) and shut it down.

    Now as previously mentioned if you have a vCenter server use the "clone' option that is built into vCenter to create your image. If this is the free ESXi use the stand alone vCenter convert ( to make your copy. Make sure you get version 4.3 or later of converter as that is the earliest version that supports 2008 R2.

    Good Luck
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    goto the datacenter using vsphere client.while the VM is powered off create different folder and copy the contents of the existing win 2008 to these new folders. once done right click on the vmx file and add it to the inventory.then power on the vm.iti will take time but a prompt will come asking if you have moved this file or copied. click copied and continue. once the registration is complete the vm will start. do the same for all the vmx files in the new folders.

    other way is to install vcenter and clone the vm. this can be done when the vm is powered on state also.


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