If you’re not aware of, Microsoft released Windows 11 image with some special requirements to be stricter followed. Check it out on the following link for better details: Windows 11 Specifications
Basically you’ll need:
- TPM (Trusted Platform Module), version 2.0
- Disk Encryption
Ok… so if you’re using VMware Horizon and need to install a VDI Image for your customer and having all VMs with the same vTPM chip and encryption data seems not to be a great idea, ins’t it? So how can you overcome this?
Follow me on the steps-by-steps I created to help you out during this task
Note: Created based on VMware approved method to create Golden Image + without vTPM, accordingly documented on https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/88320
Download Windows ADK / PE add-on
You will need to download the following softwares to create your image:
- Windows ADK
- Windows PE add-on for the Windows ADK
Create Windows Virtual Machine to Build WinPE Image (Windows Server is recommended)
You need to create a Virtual Machine to be used as Assessment and Deployment Kit for creating your Windows 11 WinPE image
Suggested VM creation:
- Windows Server 2019 / 2022
- 4 GB RAM
- 40 GB Disk
Note: You can use a Windows 10 / 11 to install Windows ADK as well. I recommend using a Windows Server in order to have it working to future configuration we may have, like this documented in here: https://techzone.vmware.com/using-automation-create-optimized-windows-images-vmware-horizon-vms
Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) – Install
After installing virtual machine, install Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) following the pictures below:
Run ADKSetup as Administrator
Install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit
Select the following features accordingly picture:
Don’t need to launch Getting Started. You can Close it
Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) ADK Add-on – Install
Now install Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) ADK Add-on on the same virtual machine, following the pictures below:
Run ADKWinPeSetup as Administrator
Select install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit Windows Preinstallation Environment Add-ons
Click on Next
Accept License Agreement
Select the following feature accordingly picture:
Press Close after installation is completed
Configuring Virtual Machine
You’ll need to create 3 directories as it follows:
C:\test\mount\ – used as the mount directory of WinPE image
C:\test\drivers\ – (optional) contains the drivers files
C:\test\scripts\ – contains the scripts
Folders created into Virtual Machine
Open Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment running as administrator:
Opening Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment
Once open, type the following command to create C:\test\winpe as working directory of WinPE.
copype amd64 c:\test\winpe
Set Working Directory
Execute this command to mount WinPE image in directory C:\test\mount\:
dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:C:\test\winpe\media\sources\boot.wim /index:1 /MountDir:C:\test\mount\
Mount Operation Completed Successfully
Note: In case you have problems and need to unmount images, you can use the following commands (only if you need to unmount):
dism /Unmount-Wim /Mountdir:C:\test\mount\ /commit
dism /Unmount-Image /MountDir:C:\test\mount\ /discard
Download Script files from KB or get them from my GitHub account and add them into c:\test\scripts:
Note: I strongly recommend not using Unattend.xml file for this image creation, so you can see how process will work.
Folder structure created on your Windows Server
Execute the following commands:
cd c:\test\scripts copy startnet.cmd C:\test\mount\Windows\System32\ copy deploy.cmd C:\test\mount\ copy CreatePartitions-UEFI.txt C:\test\mount\
Create PVSCSI driver files
- Download latest VMware Tools from: https://packages.vmware.com/tools/releases/latest/windows
- Mount ISO into your Virtual Machine
Mounted ISO on Virtual Machine
- Execute the following command (check whether you have your VMware Tools ISO into E: drive, which is my case in here):
copy "E:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\Drivers\pvscsi\Win10\amd64\" C:\test\drivers\
Copied files after command successfully run
Files structure on Windows Server
- Add VMware PVSCSI driver or other drivers to WinPE image by executing this command:
dism /image:C:\test\mount\ /add-driver /driver:C:\test\drivers\ /Recurse
Driver package successfully installed
- Commit the changes and unmount the image, then create the WinPE ISO fille:
dism /Unmount-Image /Mountdir:C:\test\mount\ /commit
Image Servicing and Management Tool operation completed
MakeWinPEMedia /ISO C:\test\winpe C:\test\WinPE_amd64.iso
Create WinPE Media as a final Step
Save WinPE_amd64.iso file to be used into your Windows 11 VM.
Create a Virtual Machine on your VMware Workstation / VMware Fusion
Let’s create now a virtual machine to be our Windows 11 Image and use this VM into your VMware Horizon environment.
Note: If you didn’t, download Windows 11 image file from Microsoft Software Download:
Select the Windows 11 Download Media from Microsoft Software Downloads page
After you download it, let’s create a virtual machine using your VMware Workstation / Fusion.
Click on New
Click or Drag your Windows 11 ISO image downloaded from Microsoft page
Create it as Windows 10 and later x64
Select Firmware Type as UEFI
Important: Click on Customize Settings before moving on. We need to make some adjustments
Save as Windows 11 Image
Let’s make the following changes:
- Configure Virtual Machine to 4 GB (4096 MB)
- Reduce the Virtual Disk size to 20 GB (enough for testing purpose)
- Add Device
- Add another CD/DVD Drive (Yeah, you read it right!)
- Add WinPE Image on CD/DVD 1 (the one you created before)
- Add Windows 11 image on CD/DVD 2
After that, start up your virtual machine
If everything works, you’ll see information to Press any key to boot from CD or DVD
Press any key
You can select the best Windows 11 image for your desire. For now, let’s move on using Windows 11 Pro (Index 6).
After pressing 6 on your keyboard, Windows 11 will start install using DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
Your virtual machine will reboot and start installing Windows 11 for you
Note: You can use Unattended.xml file which is present at VMware KB (https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/88320). If that’s the case, you’ll need to use a FromBase64String Powershell cmdlet to know which password you’re setting this up. Be aware of this!
# Decoding Base64 Password to Plain Text $Base64 = "dgBtAHcAYQByAGUAMQAwADAAJQBPAEsA" [System.Text.Encoding]::Unicode.GetString([System.Convert]::FromBase64String($Base64))
From this point on, you just need to configure your virtual machine using the username / password, country / region, etc.
After you have your image done. You can configure the following ones using Windows 11 requirements, which are written on this URL: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/whats-new/windows-11-requirements .
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or system on a chip (SoC).
- RAM: 4 gigabytes (GB) or greater.
- Storage: 64 GB* or greater available storage is required to install Windows 11.
- Extra storage space might be required to download updates and enable specific features.
- Graphics card: Compatible with DirectX 12 or later, with a WDDM 2.0 driver.
- System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable.
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0.
- Display: High definition (720p) display, 9″ or greater monitor, 8 bits per color channel.
- Internet connection: Internet connectivity is necessary to perform updates, and to download and use some features.
- Windows 11 Home edition requires an Internet connection and a Microsoft Account to complete device setup on first use.
I wish this helps you on your Windows 11 Image creation!
Enjoy the ride, cheers!
3 comments on “Windows 11 Image, How to Make it Right?”
I created a winpe disc by following your directions. But after the winpe start.cmd finishes installing the Windows 11 image and it reboots, it keeps rebooting back to winpe and the start.cmd. How do I stop that?
Hello Amy. Did you see Getting ready description when Windows 11 is installing, followed by setup instructions to configure your country, keyboard, etc? When you finish Windows 11 installation, you can remove CD Drive from your image and see how it goes. In my case (using Fusion), I didn’t remove it and no rebooting back to winpe is noticed. Let me know afterwards.