Please provide your feedback in this short Flings' survey.
fling logo of Imager

Imager

version 1.1.0 — June 29, 2022

Contributors 4

View All

Comments 13

  • profile picture of Paul Ryman
  • profile picture of Paul Ryman
  • profile picture of Tom
  • profile picture of JM2K69
  • profile picture of Paul Ryman
  • profile picture of JM2K69
  • profile picture of Paul Ryman
  • profile picture of shawnwat
View All

Summary

Now with Windows 11 support and OS Optimization Tool (OSOT) integration!

Imager provides an elegant way to create clean Windows 10 and Windows 11 VMs in one seamless flow. Provide Imager with your preferred Windows installation media ISO and it will do all the hard work to produce a fully provisioned VM or sysprepped golden image. Use the image for your Horizon desktop pools, for personal use or other any desktop infrastructure needs.

Imager creates the VM, silently installs and updates the OS, provisions applications, optimizes, syspreps and finalizes the image to be ready for distribution. The "Continue" feature allows you to stop the workflow at a particular stage, do some manual operations on the VM, before running the remaining stages.

The key advantages over traditional manual imaging are greatly increased productivity, less reliance on specific expertise, and avoiding the bloat associated with continuously adding customizations onto the same image. In comparison to similar automation products, Imager is quick to setup and easy to use. There are no requirements for pre-requisite manual downloads, configuration files or customized scripts.

Requirements

  • Windows 10 or Windows 11
  • VMware Workstation Pro 16.2+ or Windows Player 16.2+

Imager will automatically download and use the following third-party applications. The terms of these applications will need to be acknowledged during the installation of Imager.

Instructions

Instructions also available in PDF.

Setup

On your Windows 10 or Windows 11 device, ensure that you have VMware Workstation Pro or Workstation Player 16.2 or newer installed. To quickly download the latest free version of Player visit https://vmware.com/go/getplayer-win. Imager will use this hypervisor for orchestrating the creation of Windows 10 or Windows 11 images. All other requisite software will be downloaded automatically when building your first image.

Operation

After installing Imager, run “Imager” from the Start Menu or Desktop icon. Click “New” to start creating a new Windows 10 or 11 image. Each page of the configuration wizard represents data required for each stage of the imaging process.

Source Image

On the “Source Image” page you may select a Windows 10 or 11 installation media ISO or an existing Windows image (.wim file). Windows 10 or 11 ISOs can be created using the Windows Media Creation Tool or downloaded via one of the various subscription services provided by Microsoft, including Windows Insider and MSDN.

Virtual Machine

In selecting virtual machine settings, consider the specification of devices that will be hosting the VM. Selecting excessively high CPU or memory values might exceed the resources available on host device or server. It is recommended that total CPU cores (processors multiplied by cores per socket) does not exceed 8, and the memory to be set between 2GB and 8GB.

Operating System

The administrator credentials provided here are used to create a local administrator account in the VM for the duration of the imaging process. If you intend to keep the administrator account or log in to the VM during the imaging process, be sure to remember the password you configure here as there are no password recovery options.

The option to skip operating system updates is useful for speeding up the imaging process but not recommended for production purposes. Skipping updates will only skip and disable updates during the imaging process; the standard Windows features for checking and applying updates will be re-enabled after imaging is complete.

Provision

The option for provisioning software and common settings into the image is supported via provisioning packages (.ppkg files), a standard container format supported on Windows. The most common method for creating these is Microsoft’s Windows Configuration Designer tool, which is included for free in the Windows ADK.

Optimize

Imager is now integrated with VMware OS Optimization Tool (OSOT) for optimizing Windows. This is commonly used for preparing golden images for use in Horizon desktop pools to provide significant performance, capacity and usability improvements.

This can be enabled simply by toggling “Optimize image” and selecting the pre-defined default template or uploading a custom template file created within the OSOT console application. Using the default template does not require you to download or become familiar with OSOT. More template choices are planned for the next release.

Sysprep

This final stage ensures the image is sysprepped, generalized and ready for distribution to users. Imager will automate this process and perform any final clean-up and optimization tasks.

An unattend XML file (also known as a Windows Setup answer file) can be provided for automating the OOBE (out-of-box-experience) process when the VM is distributed to users and first booted. If no unattend file is provided, the user will need to the follow the default OOBE flow which will ask all setup questions, including region, keyboard, and EULA acceptance, etc.

Starting the Build

After everything is set, you can click “Build Image” and allow the process to run to completion. This can take from 20 minutes to many hours depending on device performance, VM specification, what software packages will be installed, and whether OS updates will be installed. To significantly reduce build time and network usage, it is recommended to avoid old Windows installation media files that require many updates to be downloaded and installed to bring the image up to date.

A much faster build can be achieved by using the “Skip Updates” option on the Operating System page. However, this is not recommended for VMs with production usage.

Continuing a Build

For image builds that were stopped at a stage prior to sysprep, you may “continue” the build process later. This allows manual customizations of the image before running the later stages and finalizing the image.

Command-Line Usage

All functions available via the Imager UI application are available via the Imager command-line tool. To path to this tool is %ProgramFiles%\VMware\Imager\imager.exe.

To get version and help information:

  cd %ProgramFiles%\VMware\Imager
  imager version
  imager help

To get help on a specific tool, such as build-image:

  imager build-image help

For example, to build a VM from a Windows 11 ISO downloaded from Microsoft:

  imager build-image --source \data\Windows11.iso --edition Professional \
    --vmname MyWindows11 --skipupdates

If you want to view what editions are available in any Windows 10 or 11 ISO media file:

  imager list-editions --source \data\Windows11.iso

    Edition              Index Description
    -------------------- ----- ---------------------------------
    Core                 1     Windows 11 Home
    CoreN                2     Windows 11 Home N
    CoreSingleLanguage   3     Windows 11 Home Single Language
    Education            4     Windows 11 Education
    EducationN           5     Windows 11 Education N
    Professional         6     Windows 11 Pro
    ProfessionalN        7     Windows 11 Pro N

To avoid being prompted for the password of the VM’s local administrator, set the IMAGER_ADMINPASSWORD environment variable prior to building the image. For example:

  set IMAGER_ADMINPASSWORD=some-password
  imager build-image --source \data\Windows11.iso --edition Professional

To view the list of previously built images:

  imager list-images

    ID       VMX file                                        Completed    Modified
    -------- ----------------------------------------------- ------------ -------------------
    5be4ec81 C:\VMs\Imager\MyWindows11-2\MyWindows11-2.vmx   Optimize     28/06/2022 2:44 PM
    175881c1 C:\VMs\Imager\MyWindows11\MyWindows11.vmx       Sysprep      27/06/2022 2:38 PM

To delete an image from your machine, use the ID in the first column of the images list:

  imager delete-image --source 5be4ec81

Video

Changelog

Version 1.1.0

New features:
- Windows 11 VM creation
- Optimize images with new VMware OS Optimization Tool integration
- Automated WinPE creation
- Encrypted Windows image file (.esd) support
Bug fixes:
- Imager now runs on Windows Server 2022
- Sysprep stage fixes to prevent failures on sysprep validation errors
- Improved provisioning stage error handling
- Improved build image cancellation handling
- Improved intra-stage image validation
- Capture of in-guest logs into Imager logs
- Removed Workspace ONE UEM agent download
- Various UI and CLI fixes

Similar Flings

Feb 22, 2021
fling logo of Horizon Helpdesk Utility

Horizon Helpdesk Utility

version 1.5.0.24

The Horizon Helpdesk Utility is designed to be a tool used by real help desk agents.

Apr 12, 2021
fling logo of Horizon Session Recording

Horizon Session Recording

version 2.2.5

VMware Horizon Session Recording allows administrators of a VMware Horizon environment record their users activity in their Blast Extreme virtual desktop and application sessions.

Jun 01, 2021
fling logo of Horizon Event Notifier

Horizon Event Notifier

version 1.5

This tool connects to one or more existing Horizon View Event Database(s) and allows the user to customize which types of alerts to be notified on.