How to optimize setup for Courses like 10750, 10751 or 10215

Courses like 10750 and 10751 are System Center 2012 courses with a nightmare setup.

But don’t worry there are other Server 2012 virtualization courses like 10215 that use the same technique.

They use some “boot from vhd” as host for the course VMs, instead of the Hyper-V located on the OS installed on physical hdd.

It seem not a big deal as we use it very often, but thinks get more complicated.

We need to install Hyper-V on the “boot from vhd” in which we started and import some of the course VMs (located on the physical hdd volume) in it.

This is not all, OS in the vhd used as “boot from vhd” is also member in a domain (

And to make us happy we have 2 sets of “boot from vhd” to be prepared on each pc and we have 2 pc’s used in the scenario.

So a total of 4 “boot from vhd” enviroments.

Be prepared for a lot of complications and a HUGE setup time.

Highly underestimated setup time is 8h.

Depending on class size and if you have identical hardware or not it might take more than 2 days.

So allocate at least 2 days for the setup if you do not want to spend some extra nights for it.

If you finish in 1 day you are happy and have more time for fun activities.

One ideal solution will be identical hardware and a clone hdd solution.

If you do not have it and use the standard setup after copying the vhd you might need 3o’ to install only Hyper-v on the 2 “boot from vhd” on each pc, and we have 2 pc’s.

If you are a good runner and synchronize the actions well, you can get a 40’ per pair of Hyper-Vs installed.

And all this is done after you copied the files on the host1 and host2 (about 40GB and 112GB) in each pair of pc’s.

A gigabyte net and Windows Server 2012 on the pcs you copy files can make this bearable (2.5-3h for 16 pc’s – 8 pairs).

You might take into consideration the unpack of the VM’s that might take also about 1.5-2h if done in parallel on 2 pc’s that will be used as Host1 and Host 2 sources.

Basically you prepare 4 pc’c with Hyper-V install (2 very long restarts and import of 5 to 8 VMs on each).

So to install Hyper-V and import VM’s, an estimated of 1h for each pair of pc’s is an optimistic approach.

One thing we have to appreciate is that the makelink .bat files are well done.

Only one execution per pc for both “boot from vhd” installations on a pc.

Note: Use IDE and not AHCI hdd support in Bios to reduce the problems with this courses “boot from vhd” environments.

So any optimization might save a lot of time.

1) Create a notepad file with commands and steps needed for each Host and include it in the files copied on each pc.

Use it to past commands and have a list of steps to be done.

You can find an example at the end of the article.

Include in the copied files optional install kits for tools you might need (PDF-XChange Viewer, Acrobat Reader, 7zip etc.)

2) If you have identical (or not very different HALs) hard configuration on the PCs in the class.

Start the boot from vhd for each version of vhd (Host1A, Host1b, Host2a, Host2b), let them finish install, do not install any drivers.

Then install the Hyper-V role on them and let it finish role install (2 very long restarts).

If you do not intend to install any video driver (Microsoft Default is ok in most cases) you can also set the video resolution. After that you can shut down and the vhd’s are portable and can be used on other pc’c used as same Host1 or Host2 role.

You will save a lot of time as on each pc you might have 2 “boot from vhd”.

Each will need Hyper-V role installed and this means 2(or 4 for both pc’s) restarts and this means a lot of time because shutdown takes much longer (up to 7’-10’) than standard.

Don’t worry is no problem with your pc or the vhd.

The problem is generated because the OS from the machine used as “boot from vhd” is member of a domain which has no DC on (No Master Browser present).

It is member in and the DC for it is in a machine which need to be imported in the Hyper-V to installed on the “boot from vhd” and need to be started.

This is why startup and shut down takes much longer than normal.

Unfortunately during normal course operation at the startup and shutdown the Hyper-V services are stopped, so no DC will be present.

Both operations will take a very long time.

Instruct your students about it so they can understand the process and not get a bad impression on the class hardware.

Anyhow there is no problem because your vhd’s aren’t syspreped.

In my opinion neither the original ones are not syspreped as you can’t sysprep a pc that is member in a domain.

If the originals vhd’s are syspreped, will be useful for us to know what tool was used.

Personally I managed to move vhd from pc’s with different motherboards and processors (but same cpu manufacturer) and had no problem.

3) Network Support problem for VM’s communication and autentication

The scenario uses 2 independent pc’s Host 1A/B and Host2A/B linked by one net cable.

VM’s from one pc need to communicate and authenticate with other VM’s located on the other pc in the pair.

For 10750 and 10751 if you want to have less problems to support check that the network is reported as domain (contoso).

As we know firewall profiles will be different if network is reported domain or public.

Best way to do it is to start Host 1 and then DC1 VM which is located in its Hyper-V.

Then if network on Host1 is reported as public, disable and enable the external net connection and wait for net to be reported as domain (contoso).

Then start Host 2 and check that net is reported as domain (contoso).

If Host 2 was already started you can also perform a disable and enable for the external net connection and wait for net to be reported as domain (contoso).


Live is too short, don’t waist it on classroom setups!


Florin Nicolescu