How to: Create and deploy VHD’s with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Preview #sysctr

With Windows Server 2012 R2 preview, Windows 8.1 preview, SQL Server 2014 and System Center 2012 R2 preview Microsoft announced at TechEd Europe 2013 big updates of there current server, client and management software and continues there cloud vision.

So on with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 – which includes many new features and product improvements. One of my favorites is creating VHD’s! Running your task sequences directly into a VHD. No need to capture your images – just straight into the system..that’s make sense.

Before starting…

In order to create VHD’s with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 take care of the following:

  • Hyper-V – You have to makes sure your console is installed on a machine where Hyper-V role is enabled, otherwise the option remains greyed-out in your console.
  • VMM 2012 SP1/R2 console – Virtual Machine Manager console is required in order to upload VHD’s into VMM.
  • Disk space – Make sure you have enough space on your machine where you are running the VHD creation process. A temp VHD will be created to your temp directory (C:\Users\<user-ID\AppData\Local\Temp).
  • Windows ADK 8.1Required for the creating and maintaining WIM-, ISO- and VHD files.

Lets get started…

  • Just start the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Preview console and browse to the Operating Systems pane.


  • In preparation of creating a VHD we create first a new Task Sequence based on the new template ‘Install an existing image package to a virtual hard drive’


  • Provide the usual suspects like name, description, boot image as you used to be with a normal Task Sequence


  • When finished the Task Sequence we can proceed with the Create Virtual Hard Drive Wizard (only enabled when Hyper-V role is installed on the machine where you are running the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 console).


  • Now we select the Task Sequence which we created previously which contains a Boot Image (x64), Windows 8 OS image and the Configuration Manager 2012 Client Package. This Task Sequence can be configured with all the requirements/needs for your image.


  • When finished the wizard the process of creating a VHD based on your create Task Sequence has started.


  • To have a closer look of the VHD creation process use the DeployToVHd.log which is depending where you installed the console – by default located at ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\AdminUILog’


    • In general a boot media (iso) is created followed by creating a temp VHD. Then a VM is created attached with the temp VHD and boot media.


    • When the VM’s comes online the usual Task Sequence process is executed.


    • When finished the Task Sequence process the machine is prepped and will be switched of after 5 minutes (shutdown -s -t 300), so be patient Smile


    • At this stage our VHD is ready and will be copied to a destination file share which is previously defined in the task sequence.


    • The created VHD including a default installation of Windows 8 is now available in the console. Equal to Offline Servicing of WIM files the VHD can be serviced offline as well. which is pretty awesome!


    • Additional to Offline Servicing VHD’s can be uploaded straight to Virtual Machine Manager in order to used VHD for provisioning VM machines based on the VHD created by Configuration Manager 2012 R2


    Note! Integration between Configuration Manager 2012 R2 preview and Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 nor R2 preview seems not to be working at this stage.



    Creating VHD’s is a great feature which is more than welcome addition to Configuration Manager 2012 R2. It improves the desktop imaging process for IT-pros. No more capture steps just straight into the VHD. A improvement point is the lack of support for VHDX, but that is just a matter of time I guess.

    Someone dropped a quote on Twitter this week: ‘With flexibility comes complexity” …well this is an exception to the rule Winking smile

    Microsoft releases next generation enterprise IT solutions for hybrid Cloud

    At TechEd North America 2013, Microsoft Corp. introduced a portfolio of new solutions to help businesses thrive in the era of cloud computing and connected devices. In the keynote address, Server & Tools Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson and fellow executives showcased how new offerings across client, datacenter infrastructure, public cloud and application development help deliver the most comprehensive, connected enterprise platform.


    “The products and services introduced today illustrate how Microsoft is the company that businesses can bet on as they embrace cloud computing, deliver critical applications, and empower employee productivity in new and exciting ways,” Anderson said. “Only Microsoft connects the dots for the enterprise from ‘client to cloud.’”

    Continue reading “Microsoft releases next generation enterprise IT solutions for hybrid Cloud”

    Windows Azure Infrastructure Services General Available

    Today is an exciting day for Microsoft as Windows Azure Infrastructure Services is announced general available. The announcement is a significant step in Microsoft’s cloud computing strategy, which has been influenced directly by discussions with customers and partners around the world. Read the complete story here


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    The eagle has landed….System Center 2012 SP1 available for download on TechNet and MSDN

    A colleague of mine (thanks Tom!) notified that System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 is available for download on TechNet and MSDN.


    The following links take you to the What’s New topics for System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1).

  • System Center 2012 – App Controller SP1
  • System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1
  • System Center 2012 – Data Protection Manager SP1
  • System Center 2012 – Operations Manager SP1
  • System Center 2012 – Orchestrator SP1
  • System Center 2012 – Service Manager SP1
  • System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager SP1


    Brief overview of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 8.0

    Recently the Solution Accelerator Team released the RTM version of Microsoft Assessment and Planning 8.0 (MAP) Toolkit. The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit is an agentless inventory, assessment, and reporting tool that can securely assess IT environments for various platform migrations—including Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2010 and Office 365, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 2008 R2, SQL Server 2012, Hyper-V, Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track, and Windows Azure.

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    System Center 2012 Update Rollup 2 available for download #sysctr

    Recently Microsoft has released an update rollup package for their System Center 2012 product suite. The update package contains updates for the following System Center 2012 products:

    • App Controller
    • Data Protection Manager
    • Operations Manager
    • Orchestrator
    • Service Manager
    • Virtual Machine Manager

    For an overview of all solved issues go to

    The update packages for App Controller, Orchestrator, and Virtual Machine Manager are available from Microsoft Update. Additionally, the update packages for Data Protection Manager, Operations Manager and Service Manager are available from the following Microsoft Download Center websites:

    Data Protection Manager


    Operations Manager


    UNIX and Linux Management Pack update for Operations Manager


    Service Manager