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 Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 8.5 Beta Now Available

    This week the Solution Accelerator Team announced the Beta version of Microsoft Assessment and Planning 8.5 (MAP) Toolkit. This new version of the Microsoft® Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit provides agentless discovery, inventory and assessment for a variety of scenarios. Some of the key features in this release are:

    • Newly designed user interface makes it easier to find and use the right tool for the job.
    • Added support for Lync 2013, SharePoint 2013, and Exchange 2013 Usage Tracking.
    • Advances in Virtual Machine Discovery to improve VM inventory results.
    • New Windows Volume Licensing scenario helps identify the licensing status of computers running Windows Vista SP1 or newer.


    This latest version of MAP adds new scenarios to help plan your environment with agility while lowering the cost of delivering IT. Included in MAP 8.5 are hardware and infrastructure readiness assessments to assist you in planning the deployment of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, preparing your migration to Windows Azure Virtual Machines, readying your environment for Office 2013 and Office 365, and tracking your usage of Windows Server, Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange.

    Continue reading “Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 8.5 Beta Now Available”

    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.

    image Continue reading “Brief overview of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 8.0”

    Microsoft User Experience Virtualization and Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.0 Betas Now Available!

    Microsoft announces the beta versions of Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 and a new MDOP product Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) are now available for download from
    Microsoft Connect.

    UE-V is an enterprise-scale user state virtualization solution that delivers a user’s personal Windows experience across devices, is simple for IT to deploy, and easily integrates with existing management tools.

    Some of the main features of UE-V are:

    • Users retain their application experience without having to reconfigure applications when they log in from a different Windows instance – regardless of whether it is a rich desktop or virtual desktop session. 
    • Automatically delivers a personal experience to Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 8 based devices, giving users the flexibility to work from anywhere.
    • If a user accidently applies unwanted changes, IT can simply roll back to the initial state.
    • Seamlessly integrates with Microsoft desktop virtualization products to roam the user experience in heterogeneous environments.

     Some of the new features in the App-V 5.0 Beta are:

    • Flexible virtualization choices let virtual applications work more like traditionally installed applications, allowing local and virtual applications to communicate and enabling control of which virtual applications can share environments.
    • There’s no dedicated drive letter required, and no 4 gigabyte maximum package size. It’s easy for IT to work with and take action on App-V diagnostic information because App-V logs Windows events instead of separate log files.
    • Easy and efficient to use in VDI environments, allowing IT to make the best use of expensive disk resources without changing the way they get their jobs done.
    • Web-based management makes it easy for busy IT professionals to get their work done while away from their desk.
    • Rich PowerShell scripting allows IT to automate repetitive tasks and to integrate App-V with existing processes.

    These products will be part of a future version of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).  If you want to learn more about App-V 5.0 and UE-V now, check out the Windows for your Business Blog were we have posted even more information about the products.

    Download and try the betas of UE-V and App-V 5.0.



    MDOP 2011 released! App-V 4.6 SP1 and Med-V 2.0 Resources #sysctr

    9th of March the MDOP team announced new releases of App-V and MED-V, the two Desktop Virtualization products in MDOP which are general available right now! You can access App-V 4.6 Service Pack1 and MED-V 2.0 as part of MDOP 2011 through the Microsoft Volume Licensing website, MSDN or TechNet.

    Just getting started? Check out the App-V 4.6 SP1 Trial Guide or the MED-V 2.0 Trial Guide. Need more information about App-V sequencing? Download the App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencing Guide. You’ll also want to check out the new App-V videos that walk you through some of the new features, and the new MED-V 2.0 video series. For information about all of Microsoft’s Desktop Virtualization solutions, visit the Springboard Desktop Virtualization Zone.

    Continue reading “MDOP 2011 released! App-V 4.6 SP1 and Med-V 2.0 Resources #sysctr”

    Microsoft delivers virtual applications (App-V) in the cloud

    At the PDC October 2010 last your Microsoft announced some new cloud technologies to be released. Part of these technologies is App-V through the cloud…finaly I would say!!! App-V through cloud is allready there. Microsoft ISV Partner FullArmor is already delivering cloud services based on Windows Azure platform, like AppPortal (App-V), PolicyPortal and ProfilePortal.

    Microsoft quietly delivered a promised Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of its server application virtualization technology just before Christmas.

    Company officials said at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in October 2010 to expect CTP 1 of server app-virtualiztion before the end of 2010. The final version of the technology is still on track for delivery in the second half of 2011, execs said on December 22.

    At the PDC, Microsoft published a lengthy laundry list of new cloud technologies the company was planning to roll out in test and final form in the coming year-plus. I believe the server app-virtualiztion component was the last of the expected deliverables to make it out before the year-end deadline.

    In June 2010, Microsoft execs said to expect Server application virtualiztion to be delivered via System Center Virtual Machine Manager v.Next, due in the second half of 2011. (That product is expected to debut as SCVMM 2012 when it ships.)

    Server application virtualization (Server App-V), as explained in a December 22 TechNet blog post, builds on the client App-V technology that Microsoft currently offers as part of its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). It will allow users to separate application configuration and state from the underlying operating system. As the post noted:

    “This separation and packaging enables existing Windows applications, not specifically designed for Windows Azure, to be deployed on a Windows Azure worker role. We can do this in a way where the application state is maintained across reboots or movement of the worker role.”

    Server App-V converts traditional Windows Server 2008 apps into “state separated ‘XCopyable’ images without requiring code changes to the applications themselves,” the Softies explained.

    Server App-V is meant to be a complementary technology to the Windows Azure VM Role technology, a test version of which Microsoft delivered in November. The two technologies are aimed at allowing customers to host more of their legacy applications in the cloud.