How to Create a Virtual Machine from a Template

Applies To: Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 SP1

This topic describes how to create a virtual machine from a virtual machine template.


  • You cannot change the system disk or startup disk configuration.

  • Templates are database objects that are displayed in Library view by clicking Library Servers in the navigation pane. Templates are displayed in the VMs and Templates folder.


  • The virtual hard disk must have a supported operating system installed. For more information, see Supported Operating Systems for Virtual Machines.

  • The Administrator password on the virtual hard disk should be blank as part of the Sysprep process. However, the Administrator password for the guest operating system profile does not have to be blank.

  • For customized templates, the operating system on the virtual hard disk must have been prepared by removing computer identity information. For Windows operating systems, you can prepare the virtual hard disk by using the Sysprep tool.


    Optionally, you can use a non-customized template without an operating system profile.


To create a virtual machine from a template:

  1. In the Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console, in Virtual Machines view, click New virtual machine.

  2. Complete the New Virtual Machine Wizard.

Wizard Page Action

Virtual Machine Identity

Configure the following options:

  • Virtual machine name (required). Type a unique name for the virtual machine.

  • Owner (required). The owner must have a domain account in Active Directory.

  • Description (optional). Type a description for the new virtual machine.

Configure Hardware

To configure additional hardware for the virtual machine, use the following procedures:

  • Startup Order—Select the order of devices to start the operating system.

  • CPU Requirements—Specify processor requirements for the virtual machine.

  • Memory—Specify the amount of memory to allocate to the virtual machine, and whether to use Dynamic Memory.


    Support for Dynamic Memory was introduced in Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1).

  • Floppy Drive—Configure the virtual floppy drive to read a physical floppy disk on the host or to read a virtual floppy disk file stored in the library.

  • Video Adapter—Configure the virtual video adapter for a virtual machine.


    Support for video adapter settings was introduced in VMM 2008 R2 with SP1.

  • DVD or CD Drive—Add a virtual DVD or CD drive to an IDE bus.

  • Virtual Hard Disk—Add a virtual hard disk to an IDE device or a SCSI adapter.

  • Network Adapters—Configure one or more virtual network adapters for a virtual machine.

  • Priority and Availability—Configure the virtual machine's priority for CPU and memory resources on the host. Configure the virtual machine to be highly available.


    Support for memory resource priority was introduced in VMM 2008 R2 with SP1.

Guest Operating System

(for customizable templates only)

Configure identity information, administrative credentials, and user access to computers based on the template.

  • General Settings: Enter the following settings:

    • Identity Information: Specify a computer name. To generate a computer name randomly for virtual machines based on the template, enter an asterisk in the Computer name field.

    • Admin Password: Specify the local administrator password for the virtual machine. If virtual machines created with this template will not be in a domain, users must use this password to gain access to the local computer.


      To prompt for a password when the user creates a virtual machine with the template, enter an asterisk (*) in the Admin Password field. If you leave the field blank, virtual machine creation fails.

    • Product key: If you want the template to provide a product key for virtual machines, enter a product key in the Product key field. To require users to provide their own product key when they create a virtual machine, leave the field blank.

    • Time Zone: Select the appropriate option from the Time Zone list, or accept the default time zone.

    • Operating System: Select the operating system that will run on the virtual machine. This selection does not install an operating system.

  • Networking: Configure settings to determine network access for virtual machines:

    • Domain/Workgroup: If you want virtual machines that are created from this template to be in a domain, click Domain. Then specify a user account that will be used to add the computer to the domain at first log on. If the virtual machines that are created from this template will not be in a domain, click Workgroup, and then enter the name of the workgroup.

  • Scripts: Use the options under Scripts to provide additional settings for Sysprep:

    • Answer File: You can attach a Sysprep file (for Windows XP, Windows Server 2000, or Windows Server 2003) or an Unattend.xml file (for Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008) to the guest operating system profile. The answer file script must be stored on a library share.

      To select an answer file, click Browse to open the Select sysprep.inf script dialog box, and then select the file.

      To add settings, in the Answer file field, specify the Sysprep or Unattend file to run. The settings in the answer file will be appended to those from the wizard.

    • [GUIRunOnce] Commands: If you want to specify one or more commands to run the first time a user logs on to a virtual machine, type a command that you want to add in the Command to add field, and then click Add. This action adds the command to the [GuiRunOnce] section of the Sysprep file.


      To enable environment variable expansion when you create a new virtual machine from a template, you must precede GuiRunOnce commands with cmd.exe /c.

Select Destination

When creating a virtual machine from a template, you must choose the Place the virtual machine on a host option.

Select Host

Review the rating for each host to determine the most suitable host on which to deploy this virtual machine.


If many hosts are listed, you can use the Host group, Look for, or Group by fields to display a smaller set of potential hosts.

All hosts that are available for placement are given a rating of 0-5 stars based on their suitability to host the virtual machine. The host ratings are based on the virtual machine's hardware and resource requirements and expected resource usage. They are also based on placement settings that you can customize for VMM or for individual virtual machine deployments. The ratings are recommendations. You can select any host that has the required disk space and memory available. For more information about how VMM rates hosts, see How Virtual Machine Manager Rates Hosts.


In VMM 2008 R2, for hosts that are running Windows Server 2008 R2 or for ESX Server hosts, the ratings that first appear on the Select Host wizard page are based on a preliminary evaluation by VMM. To see the host rating based on a more thorough evaluation, you must select the host by clicking it.

  1. To see the placement settings that VMM used to rate the hosts, and optionally to change those settings, click Customize Ratings.

  2. To view additional information about a host rating, select the host in the list, and then use the tabs in this section to view the following information:

    • Details -- This tab displays the status of the host and lists the virtual machines that are currently deployed on it.

    • Ratings Explanation -- If a host receives a zero rating, this tab lists the conditions that caused the rating.

    • SAN Explanation -- If a SAN transfer cannot be used to move the virtual machine's files to the host, this tab lists the conditions that prevent a SAN transfer.

    If a host has network optimization enabled, a green arrow appears in the Network Optimization column. VMM 2008 R2 lets you take advantage of network optimization capabilities that are available on Hyper-V hosts that are running Windows Server 2008 R2. For information about network optimization and the hardware that supports it, see the Windows Server 2008 R2 documentation. After a virtual machine is deployed, this feature is displayed only for virtual machines that are deployed on a host that is running Windows Server 2008 R2.

    If no host in the list has sufficient disk space to host the new virtual machine, click Previous to return to the Volume Configuration page and either remove or reduce the size of one or more volumes. You can also override the default placement options that VMM uses to calculate the host ratings. Any changes that you make apply only for this virtual machine deployment. For more information about how VMM rates hosts, see How Virtual Machine Manager Rates Hosts.

Select Path

Accept the default virtual machine path on the host to store the files associated with this virtual machine. You can also click the down arrow to select a different path, or click Browse to specify a different path on the host. You can also choose the following options:

  • If you selected a path other than an existing default path and want to store other virtual machines on that path, select the Add this path to the list of host default paths check box. For information about how to configure default virtual machine paths, see How to Set Placement Options for a Host.

  • If you chose Store the virtual machine in the library, specify the library server that will store the virtual machine, and then select a path on the available library shares to store the virtual machine's files.

The wizard will continue with the Summary page.

Select Networks

Attach the physical network adapters to either Not Connected or to any of the virtual networks on the selected host.

Additional Properties

On the Additional Properties page, accept the default settings, or modify these settings as described in How to Configure Automatic Start and Stop Actions for a Virtual Machine


Review the configuration settings. To change settings, click Previous.

Optionally, click View Script to view (and copy) the Windows PowerShell script that runs this wizard and performs the conversion. All administrative tasks in VMM can be scripted or performed at the command line. For more information, see Windows PowerShell Scripting in Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (

Optionally, select the Start the virtual machine after deploying it on the host check box.

In Jobs view, monitor the progress of job as the new virtual machine is created and confirm that the virtual machine is created successfully. If the job fails, review the error message at the bottom of the Jobs pane for information about the cause of the failure and the recommended action to resolve the issue.

See Also


Creating New Virtual Machines