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Creating a Gold Image


Course Introduction
Imaging Basics
1m 44s
4m 53s
Session Hosts and Images
Course Conclusion
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This course covers imaging in Azure to show you how you can build Azure Virtual Desktop session hosts as well as prepare for the AVD Specialty exam. This is going to cover a lot of information on the Windows OS, imaging tools, and how we work with images in Azure. Then we'll look at how to manage, maintain, and update those images. Finally, we'll cover how you can automate the whole process so you can scale as well as generate a new image each month or when a zero-day patch comes out, so you can stay secure.

Learning Objectives

  • Create a custom image
  • Deploy a session host with a custom image
  • Modify a session host image
  • Install language packs
  • Plan for image update and management
  • Create and use Azure Compute Gallery image
  • Automate custom images with Azure Image Builder

Intended Audience

  • Azure administrators with subject matter expertise in planning, delivering, and managing virtual desktop experiences and remote apps, for any device, on Azure
  • Anyone looking to learn more about Azure Virtual Desktop


  • Windows operating system
  • Imaging a Windows OS
  • Azure Virtual Machines
  • VM snapshots
  • Azure Compute Gallery 
  • Azure Image Builder

Now that you know the details of the process, let's get our VM captured. Log on to the VM and clean up any installers or temp files unless you'll specifically need them inside your image. Once you're ready, head over to C, Windows, System32, Sysprep. Right click on Sysprep.exe and run as administrator. The system cleanup action should be set for the out-of-box experience. Check the generalize box and set your shutdown option for shutdown. Then click OK. Once this is done, Windows will be shut down and we're ready to capture the VM as an image.

In the Azure portal, open the resource group where the VM is located and notice that we have snapshots for each step of our process so in case the capture process fails, we can roll back to each point, which will make troubleshooting easier. Select your VM and then at the top, select the capture button. Make sure you have the Azure Compute Gallery option selected and check the box to automatically delete this virtual machine. Now choose your target VM image definition. Give your image a version number and select your end of life date. Click next and then add your standard tags. Then click next and create your image.

Once the capture process is complete, you can go back to your resource group and see that you have an Azure Compute Gallery, along with an image definition and image version. When you click on the image version, on the left, you'll find the configuration tab and in there, you'll find the exclude from latest checkbox, which at this point, should be unchecked. Back on the left, go to update replicas and this is where you can add multiple replicas in a single region or replicate across multiple regions.

Back on the overview tab, you can click deploy virtual machine at the top, give your VM a name and note that the image is already selected as your version from the compute gallery. Then I'll just take the rest of the defaults and build a test VM quickly. Once this is done, you can RDP into the machine and test and verify that all your applications and customizations work. Once you verified that everything is good to go, you can delete your snapshots and we can move on to deploying our image to our host pools.

About the Author
Dean Cefola
Principal Azure Engineer

Dean Cefola is a Principal Azure Engineer at Microsoft and has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years. Dean has been supporting Azure Virtual Desktop from the beginning and is the Microsoft FastTrack Global Leader for AVD.