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Can not get any version of Windows 10 to sysprep or rebuild properly under quickprep


David Thacker

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I have tried the past 4 releases of Windows 10 Enterprise, as well as LTSB 2016, and none of them will sysprep or quickprep properly. We're running 3x SimpliVity nodes with ESXi 6.7u1 (so all data shares are NFS) and Horizon 7.9. Windows 7 VMs work perfectly with sysprep, no trouble at all. Following several different guides (iterating my entire process over months) has gotten me to either the VM reboots during sysprep and says it cannot finish customization, or boots to the desktop and sits there. Quickprep can provision the VMs OK, but when one of them is used, Horizon will not refresh the VM at all, and only sporadically does a full delete/rebuild. It's completely inconsistent. I can do Win2016 RDS server pools fine. I'm using the latest build of App Layering 4.x, Horizon 7.9, ESXi 6.7u1, and Windows 10 will not work with Elastic Layering turned on. If I turn off Elastic Layering, the issue seems to go away, but that totally defeats the value in App Layering.

 

I've recently added FSLogix into the mix (with the altitude fix) and it makes no difference. Elastic Layering = utter fail. It all worked great with Windows 7, but Windows 10 is impossible.

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Using Horizon/vCenter to execute sysprep with a customization in vCenter. Evidently it hates the administrator account being disabled, or any form of auto-login -- that will cause an immediate sysprep failure. Enabling the Administrator account and having it set in the customization seems to skip that problem, but leads to "this image cannot be syspreped, please restart to try again" or something to that extent. These are linked clones -- I don't have the Enterprise license to do instant clones.

 

The image I'm exporting out of App Layering only has Elastic Layering turned on, no User Layer, with FSLogix installed in the OS layer and the Altitude fix applied. I know we've established that Elastic Layering is expecting a non-persistent VM once complete, and that is the goal, but I get the same sysprep error if I accidently leave Elastic Layering turned on for a RDSH base image. 

 

The latest error message, with nothing more than Windows 2016 LTSB, FSLogix, Horizon Agent 7.9, and Sophos for Virtual environments installed in the base layer, a simple platform layer, with Elastic Layering turned on, results in a sysprep error in the log stating "...failed to initialize compat-gentel..." and the interwebz doesn't provide much help. Sysprep said it completed despite the error, but it actually does not. The machine name is set, and that's it.

 

Win7 syspreps fine, Server 2016 RDSH will sysprep fine, but Windows 10 hates sysprep and quickprep and Elastic Layering. I either end up with non-working VMs, or ones that only reset 50% of the time until I manually rebuild them via the Horizon console. Right now I'm using a RDSH pool for virtual desktops, because FSLogix works with Office 365, OneDrive, and Sharepoint, which our org is starting to use pretty heavily. It has its own quirks -- I can't enable delta disks for even a single VM session, it has to mount the .VHDX straight from the SMB share in order to load, no Elastic Layering -- but it works as advertised, and I can do app masking if I really wanted to, but I don't.

 

I want App Layering + Elastic Layers + FSLogix in a non-persistent linked-clone Windows 10 image, but I must be dreaming of unicorns and rainbows...

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Yea sorry I am being slow.  I havent worked with View much since we were aquired.  Customers rarely hire Citrix Consulting for View projects :).

 

So its composer that runs the sysprep after it creates the linked clone and that part is whats being inconsistent.  Here are my thoughts:

  1. I woudl see if there is any difference in trying the vpshere connector rather than the view connector when you publish your image.  I woudl expect View to be better if you have a good template with it because then it should have the right time which could cause problems later if the time is off.  The template should be made from a clone of your gold image with the hard disk removed but one that was a vm and had been booted with windows and the correct time zone so that the virtual bios all set correctly.
  2. I am not sure why having elastic layering enabled woudl affect the sysprep process which is writing into the delta disk but it is telling that it works OK if you dont enable elastic layering.  If the above doesnt help you should create a case and get support and engineering on board.  Obviously this should be working with either Quickprep or sysprep. 

Maybe someone else who has had a positive experience or other with negative experiences can chime in here.

 

Rob

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A good product is a good product, no matter who the vendor is :) 

 

Yes, I created the template using that exact method. If you don't, the time is off, KMS refuses to activate, and you can't join the domain. Learned it the hard way. Using the regular connector will do everything except POST, shut down, and take a snapshot, if I remember correctly. I will give that a shot and see if it helps. I can always rebuild the composer server if it's the issue; I'm not opposed to doing that.

 

Yeah I've noticed far fewer VMware people on here since the Citrix acquisition, but from what I hear, App Volumes is not a superior product. I trialed UEM and it was god-awful, and I don't think I can trial App Volumes. I love App Layering, and I would rather spend my time making it work than to ditch it and have to start all over again with another vendor product that is going to have its own set of quirks.

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So Horizon cannot manage a pool of Windows 10 NP desktops that are built by App Layering. Sysprep method fails every single time, even using the LTSC build, and QuickPrep can't seem to automatically rebuild a machine after it has been used, so it just moves it to Already Used status and does nothing. The vCenter logs indicate a problem that it can't find a particular snapshot to revert to, but the machines live in their own datastore, and the base replica image is available. I'm not sure what it is looking for.

 

Win7 works, Server 2016 works, but Win10 no matter the build will not work. I've even disabled Elastic Layering and tried it, with the same results. I started using FSLogix for the user layer, since it persists O365 data and OneDrive, which we use extensively, and it works OK. I changed the Altitude key, per instruction. Currently the process is so bad with Elastic Layering that it starts loading the layers, they appear to load OK, and then the whole VM freezes and connection is lost.

 

The only thing infrastructure-wise that is different than a plan ESXi install is that our hosts are HP SimpliVity servers, but they don't modify the OS. The only difference is a vCenter plug-in to managed the hyper-converged settings, and all the datastores are NFS3 (required by SimpliVity.)

 

This has been an issue with Windows 10 for a long time now. I don't think it's related to the VMware components, especially using QuickPrep instead of Sysprep (which is a VMware process.) With Win7 EOS coming up, Win10 has to work. I can get an RDS pool with Server 2016 + FSLogix to work just fine, the only caveat is that OneDrive won't auto-configure, even installed with the /allusers flag and the GPO set. Server 2016 just doesn't honor that GPO, and no Elastic Layering. FSLogix can do app filtering, but everything has to be in the gold master.

 

I guess I'm going to open a case with engineering and if it's something I'm doing wrong.

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Hi David!
At least I can tell you that I´m running a similar setup which is working totally fine.

 

Here some details:

-I use ELM 1905, without any Elastic Layers

-The image is not joined to the domain prior handing it over to the View composer

-Win10 LTSB 2016 / 1607

-vSphere 6.7 - Horizon 7.8 (also worked with older releases in the past vSphere 6.5 & View  7.4 & 7.5 e.g.)

-QuickPrep is used within the non persistent desktop pools 

-FSlogix also included in this setup (as part of the platformlayer)

 

Greetings,

Mario

 

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4 hours ago, Mario Rieländer said:

Hi David!
At least I can tell you that I´m running a similar setup which is working totally fine.

 

Here some details:

-I use ELM 1905, without any Elastic Layers

-The image is not joined to the domain prior handing it over to the View composer

-Win10 LTSB 2016 / 1607

-vSphere 6.7 - Horizon 7.8 (also worked with older releases in the past vSphere 6.5 & View  7.4 & 7.5 e.g.)

-QuickPrep is used within the non persistent desktop pools 

-FSlogix also included in this setup (as part of the platformlayer)

 

Greetings,

Mario

 

 

That is the main difference, I have Elastic Layers on, and when it is on, the images fail Sysprep entirely, and QuickPrep flags them as Already Used and won't delete or rebuild them. I haven't seen any documentation that says the combination of EL and FSLogix is incompatible, other than applying the Altitude fix, which I did.

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