Gold Image Creation Process and Best Practices

Chris Serrano -

Overview

Golden images are the base OS configuration from which all virtual machines in a VDI environment are built and serve as the foundation for the overall user experience. There are numerous reasons for using a gold image; some of which are outlined below:

Microsoft TechNet - Create a Windows 10 Reference Image

  1. You reduce development time and can use snapshots to test different configurations quickly.
  2. You rule out hardware issues. You simply get the best possible image, and if you have a problem, it's not likely to be hardware related. - Applies to physical workstations
  3. It ensures that you won't have unwanted applications that could be installed as part of a driver install but not removed by the Sysprep process.
  4. It's easy to move between lab, test, and production.

Expounding on the concepts listed above, a gold image allows for an easy-to-manage Windows VDI environment that can both deploy and update virtual desktops in a one-to-many methodology with rapid turnaround time.

Simply put, the initial configuration and any subsequent modifications to the user desktop only needs to be performed on the base image with associated cloned images updated either manually or in an automated fashion, depending on how they're managed by the administrator(s).

Detailed OS-Level Windows 10 Settings

There are dozens of OS settings that can be modified/configured to improve overall performance and responsiveness of Windows virtual desktops in order to provide the user with the best experience possible. The following optimization guide for Windows 10 lists and describes a total of 81 such settings - Windows 10 Settings Optimization List

References

Create a Windows 10 Reference Image

 

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