Hi everyone! Some time ago, Microsoft released Windows 11 image with some special requirements to be stricter followed. For more information, see the following link Windows 11 Specifications

Basically you’ll need:

  • TPM (Trusted Platform Module), version 2.0
  • Disk Encryption

So how can we create a VDI image for our Horizon solution? Let’s see the steps below.

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

Link: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/get-started/adk-install

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
  • 2vCPU
  • 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:

Install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit

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

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

Open Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment running as administrator:

Once open, type the following command to create C:\test\winpe as working directory of WinPE

copype amd64 c:\test\winpe

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\

Download Script files from https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/88320

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

  • 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\

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

  • Commit the changes and unmount the image, then create the WinPE ISO fille:

dism /Unmount-Image /Mountdir:C:\test\mount\ /commit

MakeWinPEMedia /ISO C:\test\winpe C:\test\WinPE_amd64.iso

Save WinPE_amd64.iso file to be used into your Windows 11 VM.

Create a Virtual Machine on your VMware Workstation / VMware Fusion / VMware ESXi

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:

Here is an example of configuring a VM in VMware ESXi:

  1. Add WinPE Image on CD/DVD 1 (the one you created before)
  2. Add Windows 11 image on CD/DVD 2

After that, start up your virtual machine and, if everything works, you’ll see information to Press any key to boot from CD or DVD

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

From this point on, you just need to configure your virtual machine using the username / password, country / region, etc.

Closing Notes
I hope it has been useful. Thanks to Thiago Valcesia for the collaboration! For more information see this KB on https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/88320.  See you next!

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