How to update a custom Windows 10 multi-user image with LOB applications for Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) Preview

In my previous blog I showed step-by-step how to create a custom Windows 10 multi-user image with Line Of Business (LOB) installed on it for use with Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). Most of the time updates are needed after a few days or weeks, there are the Windows updates off course, but also the LOB application updates. Or perhaps new LOB applications needs to be added to the image. How do you update a Windows Virtual Desktop (Preview) Hostpool without recreating the (master) image from scratch? Or how do you make sure you have a fallback to a previous “version” of your master image in case something went wrong?

There are a few different ways to do this during the Windows Virtual Desktop Preview, and I want to show you my way.

Current Status of Master Image VM

Like in my previous blog described, I have created a new Windows 10 multi-user Virtual Machine. I have installed some Line Of Business (LOB) applications and did apply some optimizations. Then I turned of the VM and made a snapshot of OS Disk. Why I did that? I got two reasons for that;

  • I run Sysprep before I deploy the WVD Hostpool, and after you run Sysprep you cannot connect to your VM in Azure anymore (at least I was not able to do so and could not find a good way to do so);
  • I want to have the ability to fall back to a previous “version” of the OS Disk without the need to rebuild my Master Image in case of any problems.

So right after customizing the image, I turned off the VM and created the VHD Snapshot. Then I turned the Virtual Machine back on, Started Sysprep with the shutdown option and after that, I deployed a WVD Hostpool with it. Once again you can read/see all these steps in this previews blog.

In this blog

In this blog I will update my master image. I will install the Firefox browser and I will update the Windows Virtual Desktop Hostpool with this up-to-date master image. I will do this within the following steps;

  1. Restore a VHD snapshot
  2. Update the image with latest updates and LOB applications
  3. Create a new snapshot
  4. Prepare the image for deploying a WVD Hostpool
  5. Update the current WVD Hostpool
  6. Publish new LOB applications
  7. Test the results

In my current environment I have two Windows Virtual Desktop Hostpools up and running with this custom image. One for the Desktop, and one for the published applications. Firefox will be added in this environment during this step-by-step blog.

Step 1 : Restore a VHD Snapshot

Because we have used Sysprep in the current state of the Master Image we first need to promote a snapshot we have created earlier (see step 3 of this blog).

Make sure the WVD Master VM is Stopped (deallocated)

Open the Resource group of the WVD Master VM, and open the Storage account.

Open the Blobs blade and then go to vhds.

Select the image and click Break lease and then click OK

Make sure the Lease State is Broken and click View snapshots

Select the snapshot and click Promote snapshot

Click OK

Go back to the vhd file and click Acquire lease

Make sure the Lease state is back to Leased again

Go to Virtual Machines and start the WVD Master VM

Step 2 : Update the image with latest updates and LOB applications

Connect to the Master VM.

Apply your updates. In my case I have installed the Firefox browser. After you’re done, shut down the Virtual Machine.

Step 3 : Create a new snapshot

The next step is to create a new snapshot.

Deallocate the VM after the Shutdown by clicking the Stop button

Navigate to Resource groups. Open the resource group of the Master Image VM and open the Storage Account.

Open the Blobs blade and then open vhds

Click Create snapshot

When clicking on View snapshots you can see that there are now two snapshots available to restore the master image.

Step 4 : Prepare the image for deploying a WVD Hostpool

Go to Virtual Machines and Start the WVD Master VM.

Once the VM is started, connect to it and run c:\Windows\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe. Make sure you select Enter System Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE) as System Cleanup Action. Enable/select Generalize and select Shutdown as Shutdown options. Click OK

Once the VM is Stopped, deallocate it via the Stop button.

Step 5 : Update the current WVD Hostpool

Now that you have a new updated image, you can create a new WVD hostpool with it or update an existing WVD hostpool. To update an existing WVD hostpool, you can use this “ARM Template for Windows Virtual Desktop Hostpool Deployment”. Before running this template we must first collect some information. First we need the URL of the Master VM OS Disk.

Navigate to Virtual Machines, open the WVD-Master VM and open the Disk page. Click the WVD-Master disk.

Copy the VHD URI to a Notepad or something else.

Navigate to Azure Active Directory > Properties and copy the Directory ID to Notepad (or something else).

Go to the “ARM Template for Windows Virtual Desktop Hostpool Deployment” template on GitHub and click Deploy to Azure. This template will remove the old Hostpool Sessionhosts and will create new ones within the same Hostpool so you do not have to publish all applications again and assign it the all the users.

Fill in the following (and leave the other settings empty or default) ;

Subscription : Select your Azure Subscription
Resource group : Select your current Resource group or create a new one (I had some problems when using an existing Resource group so I always create a new one)
Rdsh Image Source : CustomVHD
Vm Image Vhd Uri : Past your VHD URL we copied earlier
Rdsh Number Of Instances : Fill in the number of sessionhost that must be created (replaced)
Rdsh VM Disk Type : select the disk type you want to use

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Fill in the following;

Rdsh VM Size : Fill in the Size of the Sessionhost VM’s
Domain To Join : Fill in your (internal) domain name
Existing Domain UPN : Fill in the UPN of the user that can join the VM’s to AD
Existing Domain Password : Fill in the password of the user
Existing Vnet Name : Fill in the name of your Azure Vnet
Existing Subnet Name : Fill in the name of your Azure Vnet Subnet
Virtual Network Resource Group Name : The name of the Resource group the Vnet is part of
Existing Tenant Name : Your WVD Tenant Name
Existing Hostpool Name : The name of the Hostpool you want to update

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Fill in the following;

Tenant Admin Upn Or Application Id : Fill in the UPN of the user with Tenant Owner rights
Tenant Admin Password : Fill in the password of the user
Aad Tenant Id : Fill in your Azure Tenant ID we copied earlier
Action On Previous Virtual Machines : Delete or Allocate (wat you want)
User Notification Message : Fill in the number of minutes you want to give the current active users to logoff

Select I agree to the terms and conditions stated above and click Purchase

After a moment (can take up to 30 minutes in same cases) your deployment is complete.

At this moment the old VM’s are deleted (or allocated) and the new VM’s with the up-to-date image are up and running.

Step 6 : Publish new LOB applications

Now that the new image is live, I will publish Firefox as new application. I will do that via the WVD Management Tool.

I navigate to my Application Hostpool. I have created a Application group named Browsers. I will add Firefox to this group.

Open the group and click the + Publish Apps from the Start Menu

Select Firefox and click Publish

Step 7 : Test the results

Lets test the results by refreshing / updating the Remote Desktop Client.

And as you can see, Firefox is added to the list of published applications.

9 comments

  • Hi Robin, great posts, very clear and easy to follow. I have an issue when I’m running the ARM template it goes through and completes with no errors but nothing changes? It doesn’t log any users out or deletes / deallocates existing VM’s? I’ve tried this multiple times and same result. Any ideas? Regards Andy

  • Robin, great write-up. When you are deploying the new updates, what happens to the existing session hosts? You mentioned it gets deleted but if users are actively using it.

    • Current uses needs to logoff first. In one of the final steps you can configure how much time they get to logoff, and which message will appear within the active sessions.

  • Great article! i’am facing the same issue as Andy.
    Nothing happens to the current session hosts, It’s not showing me any error, it just completes the deployment. i have tried to deploy it to a new resourcegroup, but still the same.
    If i manuel delete them and recreate them from scratch with the new image, than it works, but thats not a good workaround..

  • I’m finding I can’t RDP to the VM after trying to spin it back up. No networking or IP safe-listing issue as far as I can see. It says VM access agent isn’t running, is that the cause?

    • I think the Snapshot is not restored after you have run Sysprep. Make sure your VM is deallocated and the Lease with the disk is broken before you promote the snapshot.

About Robin Hobo

Robin Hobo

I work as a Senior Solution Architect with focus on the Modern Workspace. I am specialized in Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), Windows 365 and Microsoft EM+S (including Microsoft Endpoint Manager - Microsoft Intune).

For my full bio, check the About Me page. You can also join me on the following social networks:

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