How to create a VM Template with Hyper-V

Microsoft Hyper-V lacks the capability to create and manage templates and this can be troublesome for IT specialists requiring to deploy a large number of identical virtual machines. A time-consuming task that could be much more efficient and simple.

To save your time, we suggest the following methodology that is more similar to a work-around. You will be able to deploy several virtual machines without much effort but it will still be difficult to deploy hundreds (or worst thousands) of them.

The first step is to prepare a virtual machine that will become the template. In our example, we used a Windows Server 2012 R2 VM. Install the operating system, preparare the application and then navigate the path C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep. Inside the folder you will find the executable Sysprep.exe, run it and configure as following. Sysprep is a Microsoft tool that allows to preprare a Windows installation to be cloned / duplicated:

Prepare the VM and run Sysprep

Now that the virtual machine is ready and switched off, let’s go to the hypervisor. Select the VM and export it:

Export the virtual machine / template

Create a folder where to store the template:

Save the template VM

We are ready for the second part of the tutorial, the deploy phase. Create a new virtual machine:

Create a new virtual machine

At the Connect Virtual Hard Disk tab, select Attach a virtual hard disk later:

Select "Attach a virtual disk later"

Let’s create a copy of the stored template. In our example, we left the file in the same folder of the template but we suggest to copy it inside the folder of the newly created VM:

Copy the template and rename it

Edit the Settings of the newly created VM and add a HD:

Select the copy of the template as the virtual disk

Select the path of the copied virtual disk and Apply:

Apply and you will be ready to use your new machine

You’re ready to start the new VM. Repeat the operation to deploy other virtual machines.