With Unidesk setup and configured. Let’s start creating our layers. Unidesk as the name suggests allows us to create virtual desktops to deploy to our end users. It’s a very, very powerful solution. In order to create these desktops, we’re really deploying separate layers which merge together to give the user that kick ass Virtual Desktop.
The layers in question are the OS Layer, which will contains your Operating System of choice, any updates you’d like to apply and possibly some applications which you think belong on the image itself. The Application Layers. Each application that you want to be able to deploy to your users, can also be created into Layers. Each user is assigned a User Layer, which is like a disk which contains their application settings and user data. So the Desktop is really made of these layers brought together as one. UNI-Desk 🙂
For this post. I’m going to go through creating the OS Layer!
Create an OS Layer
Spin up a VM on your Hyper-V host with the OS you prefer. Install any updates you’d like to apply, install whatever (if any) application you’d like to have installed as part of the image. For example, I ensure .Net Framework, all version of C++ Redistribituables, Powershell and Office are on my image. This is because I like to install all relevant updates for these products. Some people like to include Java, Adobe Reader, Flash player and other commonly shared applications on the image. I prefer to have them as part of the build rather than on the image and in this case, I’d prefer to have them as application layers.
Once all updates and apps have been installed and whatever other configs you’d like. Disable Windows Updates. Delete any restore points which may have been created when running Windows updates and disable the restore too. I suggest that you also ensure you delete any User Profiles you may not want on the image. Also ensure the image is NOT on your domain!
Next run your unidesk_win_gold_image_tools_3.0.0 file.
Click Extract. The files will extract to C:\Windows\Setup\Scripts. If for some reason you coped the file to the machine in order to extract it. Delete it now, or you may forget to remove it, which would leave it on the image.
Browse to C:\Windows\Setup\Scripts, you can laugh the optimizer tool to optimize your VM, personally I skipped this step.
From the same directory, launch the Unattend tool. Ensure you right click on it and Run As Administrator as it needs to write to a directory which requires elevation to write to.
This launches Unidesk Unattend.xml Builder which is a very simple way to create the Windows unattend file which will be used to create our Desktops.
The correct OS Type(s) and OS Package should be correct when you launch it.
Enter your Registered Organization. Select your licensing type. I selected Retail with MAK for my home lab. When you edit this section of the form, a command window should appear. This is creating an Activation ID. Ensure you’ve entered a valid Product Key and move on down through the Unattend Builder.
In order to ensure your desktop joins to the domain. You will need to enter your Domain information, as well as an account which can join the machines to the domain. You will need to also enter a Local Administrator password, to create a local admin. Set your Time Zone and then save the file. You should get the all good message as above.
Note: This creates an Unattend file which is good for most users. However, in my case I needed to open up the Unattend file and modify it. In my home lab, I do not have my network configured for my Domain. I set the DNS config on my machines and join to the domain. This can be done via the Unattend file.