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Creating transforms file and using PDQ

The other day I need to “mass deploy” an application to our users at the hotels.  Normally, pushing applications using PDQ is straightforward, however, the installation needed some user inputs such as server name, username and install feature.  Luckily, the installer was an MSI, and was able to create a transforms file to automatically answer those questions.


Found this simple application, Transforms Creator

The application is fairly simple, after installing the Transforms Creator, you would find the MSI in question, right click it and select Create Transforms.  The MSI will then simulate an install, answer all the questions needed, once you’re done, an MST will be generated.

Tested it out, and it worked exactly as I needed.

I did run into some issue using TRANSFORMS in PDQ.  This was merely a user issue and not knowing how to do this rather than technical.  So for future reference, when creating a package in PDQ, you’ll need to the following settings in the Edit Package dialog box:

Parameters: TRANSFORMS=transforms_package.mst

and the ensure that you check “Include Entire Directory” otherwise,  you’ll get an error message saying:

“This installation package could not be opened. Verify that the package exists and that you can access it, or contact the application vendor to verify that this is a valid Windows Installer package.”



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Guest OS reporting error during quiescing

My storage engineer recently approached me about a couple of VMs that were failing to backup because it could not quiesce.  We were seeing:


My storage engineer recently approached me about a couple of VMs that were failing to backup because it could not quiesce.  We were seeing:

“An error occurred while saving the snapshot: Failed to quiesce the virtual machine.”

An open call to EMC said to run an extended Snapshot, however, that is only available starting with vSphere 6.5.  Despite that, running a manual snapshot using the vCenter MOB was successful.

Running scheduled and unscheduled backups failed with the same message.

However, after digging into the logs, I saw a very specific error message:

The guest OS has reported an error during quiescing. The error code was: 5 The error message was: ‘VssSyncStart’ operation failed: IDispatch error #8472 (0x80042318)

A quick search shows that this can be resolved by a number of ways, re-registering the VSS Components and re-configure VMTools.

for my purposes, re-registering the VSS Components did the trick.  Instead of running each of the following commands separately, I put them into a batch script.

cd /d %windir%\system32
net stop vss
net stop swprv
regsvr32 /s ole32.dll
regsvr32 /s oleaut32.dll
regsvr32 /s vss_ps.dll
vssvc /register
regsvr32 /s /i swprv.dll
regsvr32 /s /i eventcls.dll
regsvr32 /s es.dll
regsvr32 /s stdprov.dll
regsvr32 /s vssui.dll
regsvr32 /s msxml.dll
regsvr32 /s msxml3.dll
regsvr32 /s msxml4.dll
vssvc /register
net start swprv
net start vss

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Reusing Computer Names in a Full Clone Pool

For the few of us using Full Clones in their Horizon View environment, we’ve always run into the issue of not being able to reuse computer names like you can in a Linked Clone pool.

However, I came across a VMWare KB that explains how to do this.  I’d advise you fully read the KB as it involves modifying the ADAM database.  I don’t have to tell you what can potentially happen if that get’s corrupted.  So backup and/ or snapshot before making changes.

So basically, you need to modify the following value in the ADAM database for the pool in question.

pae-VMNameReuseAllowed = 1

You would need to remote onto one of you connection servers, and  open up ADSI Edit from Administrative Tools, select the ADAM Database, go to OU=Server Groups, right click the pool in question and find the above attribute and change it to 1.

Have fun!

For reference here is the KB:




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ending the week on a high note

nothing like ending the week on a high note. Been running RecoverPoint for VM for the past few weeks with lack luster results with the same level of support. Replication was painfully slow along with a UI that was severely lacking in features. However, after setting up Zerto, which took about 15 minutes or so, I was already replicating a 9.4TB VPG, with an ETA of 20h.  This same VPG in RP4VM nearly took 2 weeks to replicate.  Even after increasing the RPA resources to 8vCPU and 16GB RAM, we only ever got 11MB/sec at best.  With Zerto I’m seeing 112MB/sec constant.


Next week, I’ll have enough information to make the case to go with Zerto and drop RP4VM


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Windows Update Error 8024402F

I’ve recently built a new W7 VM for AppVolume provisioning, however, when trying to install windows updates, I get the following


For whatever reason, my new Windows build couldn’t contact the MS Windows Update servers.  After some Googling, I ran into a post saying to add windowsupdate.microsoft.com to the list of trusted sites.  After putting that in, I was able to update the OS.




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using Runonce to move VM to different OU

If you are using Horizon View and creating full clones, undoubtedly you’ve run into the issue of having the VM joining the domain but placed in the wrong OU.   To get around this you either moved it yourself, have a GPO do it or some VBScript.

After many searches and trial and errors, I’ve finally got it working in my environment.

In the customization specification, I have the VM join the domain using the UPN format, user@domain.com, then in the Runonce field I have the following:

cmd.exe /c dsmove -u user@domain.com cn=%computername%,cn=computers,dc=domain,dc=com -d domain.com -newparent "ou=NEW OU,dc=domain,dc=com" -p "P@ssword"

To get this to work, you’ll need to copy dsmove.exe and dsmove.exe.mui from a another computer that has AD tools installed.

You’ll need to copy dsmove.exe from c:\windows\system32 and dsmove.exe.mui from  c:\windows\system32\en-us and place them in the same folders on your image\template.

Please keep in mind this tested and verified on Windows 7,  other Windows versions may be different.  So please test thoroughly.

Hope this helps anyone using Horizon View using full desktops or manual pools.

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i hate dealing with them….

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multiple sVmotions via powercli

I’m currently working on a project to move our server VM infrastructure from our old VMAX3 to a new all flash VMAX 250F SAN.   So for my own sanity sake, and to save myself from one less Google search, below is what I used to sVmotion all VMs from the “old” LUN to the new LUN

get-datastore “old-datastore” | get-vm | move-vm -datastore(get-datastore “new-datastore”)


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Reclaiming Free Space

I was tasked earlier in the week to reclaim free space from VMs that have been deleted or from snapshots that have been consolidated.

What I discovered was that from vSphere 5.0 to 5.5 had the ability but was disabled by default due to performance issues on the arrays during reclamation.  However, reclamation can still be done manually by issuing the following command

esxcli storage vmfs unmap -l <datastore name>

What is happening here is that when a VM is either deleted, moved due to SvMotion, or snapshots deleted/ consolidated, the VMFS datastore sees that space has been freed up, but not reported back to the array, and still holds on to that space.  So in the vCenter client, you’ll see the amount of free space available to you right away, but you’ll the LUN reporting a different number. I think this is normally not an issue as long as your datastores don’t fill up or if you’re running alerts against the datastores and not the array.

In any case the above command reclaims the space, but depending on how big the LUN is, it can take long time.

For example, to reclaim 50% of free space from a 8TB LUN took about 11 hours.

Good news, VMware had re-implemented the SCSI UNMAP commands in 6.5

Please keep in mind the scsi unmap command needs to be run from the host console.

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Trouble installing applications

The last few months I’ve had some issues installing certain applications.  Some applications would be looking for the msi in the Windows temp directory, in one instance, VAMT would fail with Error 1651.

Well, I’ve finally resolved the issue with the following:


According to the website, the following is fixed:

    • Corrupted registry keys on 64-bit operating systems
    • Corrupted registry keys that control the update data
    • Problems that prevent new programs from being installed
    • Problems that prevent existing programs from being completely uninstalled or updated
    • Problems that block you from uninstalling a program through Add or Remove Programs (or Programs and Features) in Control Panel

To fix my issues I would select the application that is giving me a problem, select uninstall, and then re-run the installation.


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