Creating a Windows Image in the VCL

Create a Windows Image

1. Go to the VCL home page

2. Select “Manage Images” from the left navigation bar. If you don’t see this option please email research@unc.edu and this feature will be enabled in your VCL account.

NOTE: If you have not created any images before, you will see the message “You don’t have access to manage any images“. In this case, select “Reservations“, click “New Reservation“, and select “Imaging Reservation” under Reservation type. Continue with step 4 below.

3. Select “Create / Update an Image” and then click Submit

4. From the base image pull-down menu, select a base image to start with. Examples:

    • Base No Apps, Windows7 64bit (Full Blade)
      • “Bare-metal” Windows 7 64-bit image with no specialized applications
      • Use this if you plan to install resource intensive applications
NOTE: Bare-metal images cannot run on virtual machines.
    • Base No Apps, Windows7 (vmware)
      • VMWare Windows 7 image with no specialized applications
      • Use this if you plan to install applications with less stringent
      • resource requirements
NOTE: VMWare-based images can only run on virtual machines.
    • Base No Apps, RHEL 6 (Full Blade)
      • “Bare-metal” RHEL6 image with no specialized applications

5. Select the Now under “When would you like to start the imaging process?” and click Submit

6. The Current Reservations page will appear. If the image you have chosen is already preloaded, your wait time should be less than a minute. If the image is not preloaded you may have to wait 10-20 minutes while the computer is being loaded.

7. Click the Connect button on the Current Reservations page when it appears. The connection information will be displayed:

    • The remote VCL computer’s IP address
    • The user ID you will use: Administrator
Note: the user ID is always Administrator for Windows imaging reservations.
    • A one-time password for the Administrator account

8. Login using Remote Desktop Connection. You can either enter the connection information manually after launching the Remote Desktop Connection program or you can use a pre-configured RDP file:

    • Click the Get RDP File button
    • Save the RDP file to your computer
    • Double-click the RDP file to launch the Remote Desktop Connection program with the VCL connection information pre-configured
You can request up to 12 hours to configure and save your reservation. If you reach the end of your time, the VCL will automatically save your image at that point so you don’t lose your work. If you need longer times, you can request that your account be enabled to specify the end time of your reservation.

9. Run Windows Update

10. Reboots are OK. It usually takes about 4-6 minutes for the computer to reboot before you can connect via RDP again

    • Install your application
    • Post install of software:
    • Some suggestions/tips on loading software to the remote machine:
      • Put media on a webserver and download on the remote node.
      • Another option that has worked, is to share the cdrom from a local windows workstation and mount the shared CDrom on the remote machine.
      • Remote Desktop Connection allows access to your local workstation drives, installing this method has never worked for me(IO is not fast enough for installer). I have copied the media to the remote machine this way and then run the installer. It does take a while to copy.
      • Copy the media contents through SCP. If you have a personal machine with ssh server you can use this method. This would also work for ftp.
      • Remove any copies of software media(needlessly takes up space in the image)
      • Make sure all wanted icons are in “All users” desktop.
      • As far as the app goes, if you have any customizations, default file locations.

Save the Image

11. IMPORTANT STEPS FOR WINDOWS 7

    • Failure to perform these steps may result in the image capture failing.
    • Open windows explorer and navigate to c:\cygwin
    • Double-click Cygwin.bat to open a Cygwin window
    • Inside the window, run cygrunsrv –stop sshd
    • Exit
    • Navigate to c:\cygwin\bin
    • Double-click ash
    • Inside the window, run /usr/bin/rebaseall
    • Exit
    • Navigate back to c:\cygwin
    • Double-click Cygwin.bat
    • Inside the window, run cygrunsrv –start sshd
    • exit

12. When you’re done configuring the remote computer and are ready to save the image:

13. Log off of the remote VCL computer

Note:
It is important to logoff the remote computer before saving the image. Otherwise it will not function correctly.

14. From your own machine, return to the Reservations page on the VCL website

15. Select More Options , End Reservation & Create Image

16. Select Create New Image and then click Submit

17. Enter an image name. Something simple related to the applications you installed is fine. The image name is displayed when a user makes a reservation and can be changed later if needed. Please include “vmware” in the image name for vmware-based images to help easily identify them. See the table below for recommended naming convention.

18. The minimum specs can be left at the defaults

19. Confirm the image properties are correct

20. Click Submit

Wait about 20-25 minutes. You will receive an email saying your image ready for testing when the image creation process is done. Grant access to use the image

If the image creation fails for some reason, you will be notified via email. Be patient, your image isn’t lost, it’s been placed in a hold state until the VCL administrator can investigate the cause of the failure. In most cases the problem can be corrected and the imaging process restarted by the administrator.

Once you have tested that the image works correctly, access to use the image will need to be granted to other users. If you have the appropriate access, you can follow the instructions on granting access to new images. If you don’t have access to everything mentioned there, you will need to contact your IT support to have it done.

Image Naming Convention
Application or Environment Description, Operating System, (Full Blade or vmware)
Examples:
ArcGis 10.2, Windows7 (vmware)
Math Dept. Apps, RHEL 6 (Full Blade)

VCL Home Page