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Imager

version 2.0.0 — October 26, 2022

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Summary

*** Imager 2.0 Major Feature Announcement - Managed VMs ***

Our headline feature is a new way of delivering secure desktop VMs, built with Imager, as “Offline VDI” desktops that run containerized on your users’ laptops. This new feature is the evolution of the  “Managed VM” beta that we ran in 2021, now greatly improved and fully integrated into the Imager 2.0 Fling.

In a nutshell, Managed VMs are isolated workspace containers, managed by Workspace ONE, that run virtualized on user personal devices. This is an ultra-low-cost VDI solution for running secure work VMs on BYOD devices, managed by existing Workspace ONE UEM infrastructure. Advantages include:

  • Cheaper than supplying corporate laptops or provisioning a hosted or cloud VDI instance.
  • More secure than direct access to corporate apps and data on their personal devices.
  • Managed VM desktops are accessible even when Internet connectivity is unavailable or poor quality.

This works with all supported releases of Workspace ONE UEM and requires no server-side configuration changes.

For those of you who supported the beta, thank you! We listened and have worked diligently to drive this forward. Overall, the Imager 2.0-integrated release of Managed VM is a significant step-up from the beta. The end-to-end workflow is now fully UI-driven for both the admin and user, the process is much more automated, and managed VM desktops more secure.

Note that Managed VMs are completely optional - you can continue to use Imager to create Windows 10 and Windows 11 VMs for any other purpose. Indeed, Imager 2.0 has many other new features, and the development team is looking to broaden the range of use cases and packaging methods going forward.

What is Imager?

Imager aims to replace complicated imaging tooling such as Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), by making imaging of Windows desktop VMs child’s play. Supply a Windows 10 or Windows 11 installation media ISO and Imager does the hard work of producing a working VM or golden image. Use the image for your personal use, Horizon desktop pools, Managed VMs (*new), or other any desktop infrastructure needs.

The Imager build process involves creating the VM, installing and updating the OS, provisioning software, optimizing, sysprepping and finalizing the image to be ready for distribution. Any VMware or third-party software is downloaded automatically when required. Your only requirement is to install VMware Workstation Pro or Player and have a Windows installation media ISO available.

The process is simple and repeatable. A quick example in pictures:

  1. Select your Windows installation media ISO, edition and review the build plan: < br/>
  2. Set the size of the VM and administrator credentials:
  3. Optionally, select provisioning packages for base software you want installed and whether to optimize the image (using the VMware Optimization Tool):
  4. Setup unattend settings to control the OOBE flow, including option of Workspace ONE UEM enrolment, and hit “Build Image”:
  5. Wait for the image to build:
  6. Done, your image is ready.

Requirements

On your Windows 10, Windows 11, or Window Server 2022 computer, ensure that you have installed either:

  • VMware Workstation Pro 16.2.0 or newer, or
  • VMware Workstation Player 16.2.0 or newer.

It may also be necessary to manually install the following to ensure Imager runs properly:

  • Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime, available for download here. Imager will use the hypervisor for orchestrating the creation of Windows 10 or Windows 11 images locally. Access to a vSphere or cloud environment is not required. At least 30GB of free disk space is recommended. You can also run Imager within a Windows VM if hardware-assisted virtualization (HV) settings are enabled on the host hypervisor, allowing for nested virtualization. The disadvantage of nesting is loss of performance within the nested VMs which leads to longer image build times. The following will be download and installed automatically on first image build, unless you have these already installed:
  • Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK), for Windows 11 version 22H2 (Deployment Tools feature only)
  • Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) Add-ons, for Windows 11 version 22H2 Imager will download other VMware and third-party packages during image build, but these either do not require installation or are only installed within the built VM images.

Instructions

Please get the instructions .PDF in the Download box.

Video

Changelog

Version 2.0.0

New features:
- Managed VMs (Major new feature)
- Unattend file customizer
- Full command-line support
- Verification of in-guest state during image build
- Added USB device type restrictions to VM template
- Faster image build time
- Capture of in-guest logs for each build image stage
- Updated to latest Windows ADK

Bug fixes:
- Overall image build reliability improvements
- Fixed intermittent Windows PE ISO creation failures
- Fixed intermittent update OS stage failures
- Fixed intermittent sysprep failures, including improved AppX package handling
- Disabled Windows boot sounds during image build
- Various user interface fixes and enhancements

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

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