View: Customizing Timeout error

Hello all,

Something interesting to share today.  This has been ongoing for a while.  I went to add a co-worker to a new View pool so I could work with her in my lab.  But it did not work.  When I checked the Machines view in View I saw the VM was in customizing mode – forever it seemed.  This is my story on fixing this issue.

I let a VM process the customization spec as long as it wanted.  It took overnight for it to say error – timeout.  So to make this more simple I used the customization spec and the template outside of view.  So I could see a little better.

It turns out that the deployment worked.  However the customization did not – the VM was named like the template and not part of the domain.

The first thing I checked was the domain add info in the spec.

Correct credential format
wrong credential format

While this had worked previously, it was considered – according to the Internet as not quite right.  So I changed it.

Wrong credential format
correct credential format

Still I could not successfully deploy a virtual machine from the template.  Meaning have it join the domain and be named properly.

I used the vSphere Client (C# version) to re-enter the credential passwords just in case that bug was still around.

I had a number of virtual machines now that were not what I wanted and they were in fact licensed.  So I was worried about using up my MSDN license count.  I found this article that showed me how to undo activations and supposedly return the license to me.  Not sure if it works but I hope it releases the license and it is added back to my MSDN world.

I next made sure that the network was connected to the VM, that virtual hardware and tools were current and they were.  I manually added the VM to the domain and that worked fine.

I next checked the credentials I specified in the custom spec were good.  I used them to RDP to a domain controller, and I used them to join a VM to the domain.  All worked fine.

So I deployed another one and it behaved the same – no new name or domain.  So I checked the c:\windows\temp folder for the vmware-imc folder and looked at the two log files within.  No errors or any indications things were astray.

I now remembered an old issue where if your VM was on the domain before it was turned into a template you could have an issue.  Nope, that was not an issue here.

I had the View agent installed, and anti – malware (Trend) but could they be an issue?

I created a new custom spec – same info but new custom spec and the same results occur.

So I tried again and used a new set of credentials to join the domain.  Still no joy.  I tried joining a workgroup rather then domain.  Still no good results.

So now I got all my vC / ESXi / vSphere Web client logs, screenshots, and vmware-imc log files and created a support call.  Need the help of the professionals.

Since I have only basic support as part of the TAP Elite program I did not get any help until Monday.  But on Sunday when I did my newsletter I mentioned my issue and I was very lucky. Frank Buchsel is a reader and also a VMware Escalation Support Engineer.  He suggested I needed to submit the sysprep log files.  Didn’t know about them.  This helped me find them.  I did find the logs in all of the locations that the article suggested and I uploaded all of them to VMware.  If I had checked the sysprep logs I would have found what Frank did.

Could not load DLL c:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\MSESysprep.dll

This error message is the same as a supposedly different issue.  Frank suggested I try that solution.  I had installed Trend a while back and it uninstalled Microsoft Security Essentials so I thought maybe it did that poorly and caused or contributed to this issue.

So I try the solution and it works.  But then I find a really exciting issue.

Scary error message
Scary error message

Turns out that this error occurs on physical machines and no solution.  So what do I do now?  It will occur each log in.  Mind you I was excited that the VM had the right name and was on the domain.  But this error had to go.

I find a different Windows 7 template, and use the same custom spec and it works great.  That Win7 template still had Microsoft Security Essentials on it.  So I figure I need to make this Win7 template like my last one.  But I need to do it in a few steps.

So first I manually remove MSE.  It turns out that it still leaves behind the crap.


See it in the last line of the list in the screenshot.  So again I remove it.

I test doing a deploy again and it works.  Yahoo.

Now I have to upgrade that Win7 template – meaning all the normal updates like Adobe, FireFox, Chrome, Autoruns, BGInfo, VMware Tools, etc.  So I test again again – and it works.

Now I add Trend and test again.  It works – yahoo a little bit more.

Now I add the View agent and test again.  It works – yahoo even more!

I can now add the template back to View and things should work much better now.  Of course, I will test that before I tell anyone!

BTW, I want to thank VMware Support for their help but particularly thank Frank for the help and knowledge!

Just in case you are curious – yes, View worked!  I hope that this might help someone else avoid the hassle I had!

And remember comments or questions are always welcome!


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