Quick start

This article steps through how to install and configure XenServer (formerly Citrix Hypervisor) and its graphical, Windows-based user interface, XenCenter. After installation, it takes you through creating Windows virtual machines (VMs) and then making customized VM templates you can use to create multiple, similar VMs quickly. Finally, this article shows how to create a pool of hosts, which provides the foundation to migrate running VMs between hosts using live migration.

Focusing on the most basic scenarios, this article aims to get you set up quickly.

This article is primarily intended for new users of XenServer and XenCenter. It is intended for those users who want to administer XenServer by using XenCenter. For information on how to administer XenServer using the Linux-based xe commands through the XenServer command line interface (known as the xe CLI), see Command-line interface.

Terminology and abbreviations

  • Server: a physical computer that runs XenServer.

  • Host: a XenServer installation that hosts Virtual Machines (VMs).

  • Virtual Machine (VM): a computer composed entirely of software that can run its own operating system and applications as if it were a physical computer. A VM behaves exactly like a physical computer and contains its own virtual (software-based) CPU, RAM, hard disk, and NIC.

  • Pool: a single managed entity that binds together multiple XenServer hosts and their VMs.

  • Pool coordinator (formerly pool master): main host in a pool that provides a single point of contact for all hosts in the pool, routing communication to other members of the pool as necessary.

  • Storage Repository (SR): a storage container in which virtual disks are stored.

Major components


XenServer is a complete server virtualization platform, with all the capabilities required to create and manage a virtual infrastructure. XenServer is optimized for both Windows and Linux virtual servers.

XenServer runs directly on server hardware without requiring an underlying operating system, which results in an efficient and scalable system. XenServer abstracts elements from the physical machine (such as hard drives, resources, and ports) and allocating them to the virtual machines (VMs) running on it.

XenServer lets you create VMs, take VM disk snapshots, and manage VM workloads.


XenCenter is a graphical, Windows-based user interface. XenCenter enables you to manage XenServer hosts, pools, and shared storage. Use XenCenter to deploy, manage, and monitor VMs from your Windows desktop machine.

The XenCenter Online Help is also a great resource for getting started with XenCenter. Press F1 at any time to access context-sensitive information.

Install XenServer and XenCenter

In this section, you set up a minimum XenServer installation.

What you’ll learn

You’ll learn how to:

  • Install XenServer on a single physical server
  • Install XenCenter on a Windows computer
  • Connecting XenCenter and XenServer to form the infrastructure for creating and running virtual machines (VMs)


To get started, you need the following items:

  • A physical computer to be the XenServer host
  • A Windows computer to run the XenCenter application
  • Installation files for XenServer and XenCenter

The XenServer host computer is dedicated entirely to the task of running XenServer and hosting VMs, and is not used for other applications. The computer that runs XenCenter can be any general-purpose Windows computer that satisfies the hardware requirements. You can use this computer to run other applications too. For more information, see System Requirements.

You can download the installation files from XenServer Downloads.

Install the XenServer host

All servers have at least one IP address associated with them. To configure a static IP address for the host (instead of using DHCP), have the static IP address on hand before beginning this procedure.


Press F12 to advance quickly to the next installer screen. For general help, press F1.

To install the XenServer host:

  1. Burn the installation files for XenServer to a CD or create a bootable USB.


    For information about using HTTP, FTP, or NFS as your installation source, see Install XenServer.

  2. Back up data you want to preserve. Installing XenServer overwrites data on any hard drives that you select to use for the installation.

  3. Insert the installation media into the system.

  4. Restart the system.

  5. Boot from the local installation media (if necessary, see your hardware vendor documentation for information on changing the boot order).

  6. Following the initial boot messages and the Welcome to XenServer screen, select your keyboard layout for the installation.

  7. When the Welcome to XenServer Setup screen is displayed, select Ok.

  8. Read and accept the XenServer EULA.


    If you see a System Hardware warning, ensure hardware virtualization assist support is enabled in your system firmware.

  9. Select Ok to do a clean installation.

  10. If you have multiple hard disks, choose a Primary Disk for the installation. Select Ok.

    Choose which disks you want to use for virtual machine storage. Choose Ok.

  11. Select Local media as your installation source.

  12. Select Skip Verification, and then choose Ok.


    If you encounter problems during installation, verify the installation source.

  13. Create and confirm a root password, which the XenCenter application uses to connect to the XenServer host.

  14. Set up the management interface to use to connect to XenCenter.

    If your computer has multiple NICs, select the NIC which you want to use for management traffic (typically the first NIC).

  15. Configure the Management NIC IP address with a static IP address or use DHCP.

  16. Specify the host name and the DNS configuration manually or automatically through DHCP.

    If you manually configure the DNS, enter the IP addresses of your primary (required), secondary (optional), and tertiary (optional) DNS servers in the fields provided.

  17. Select your time zone.

  18. Specify how you want the host to determine local time: using NTP or manual time entry. Choose Ok.

    • If using NTP, you can specify whether DHCP sets the time server. Alternatively, you can enter at least one NTP host name or IP address in the following fields.

    • If you selected to set the date and time manually, you are prompted to do so.

  19. Select Install XenServer.

    The installation process starts. This might take some minutes.

  20. The next screen asks if you want to install any supplemental packs. Choose No to continue.

  21. From the Installation Complete screen, eject the installation media, and then select Ok to reboot the host.

    After the host reboots, XenServer displays xsconsole, a system configuration console.


    Make note of the IP address displayed. You use this IP address when you connect XenCenter to the host.

Install XenCenter

XenCenter is typically installed on your local system. You can download the XenCenter installer from the XenServer downloads page

To install XenCenter:

  1. Download or transfer the XenCenter installer to the computer that you want to run XenCenter.

  2. Double-click the installer .msi file to begin the installation.

  3. Follow the Setup wizard, which allows you to modify the default destination folder and then to install XenCenter.

Connect XenCenter to the XenServer host

This procedure enables you to add a host to XenCenter.

To connect XenCenter to the XenServer host:

  1. Launch XenCenter.

    The program opens to the Home tab.

    The XenCenter Home tab

  2. Click the Add New Server icon to open the Add New Server dialog box.

    The Add New Server wizard. The fields are Server, Username, and Password.

  3. In the Server field, enter the IP address of the host. Enter the root user name and password that you set during XenServer installation. Choose Add.


The first time you add a host, the Save and Restore Connection State dialog box appears. This dialog box enables you to set your preferences for storing your host connection information and automatically restoring host connections.

License XenServer

You can use XenServer without a license (Trial Edition). The Trial Edition lets you try Premium Edition features, but in a restricted size pool of up to 3 hosts.

If you are using XenServer to run your Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops workloads, you must have a Premium Edition license. For more information about getting a XenServer license, see the XenServer website. XenServer is now an entitlement of the Citrix for Private Cloud, Citrix Universal Hybrid Multi Cloud, and Citrix Platform License subscriptions for running your Citrix workloads. Read more.

If you have a XenServer license, apply it now. For more information, see Licensing.

Create a pool of XenServer hosts

A resource pool is composed of multiple XenServer host installations, bound together as a single managed entity.

Resource pools enable you to view multiple hosts and their connected shared storage as a single unified resource. You can flexibly deploy VMs across the resource pool based on resource needs and business priorities. A pool can contain up to 64 hosts running the same version of XenServer software, at the same patch level, and with broadly compatible hardware.

One host in the pool is designated as the pool coordinator. The pool coordinator provides a single point of contact for the whole pool, routing communication to other members of the pool as necessary. Every member of a resource pool contains all the information necessary to take over the role of pool coordinator if necessary. The pool coordinator is the first host listed for the pool in the XenCenter Resources pane. You can find the pool coordinator’s IP address by selecting the pool coordinator and clicking the Search tab.

In a pool with shared storage, you can start VMs on any pool member that has sufficient memory and dynamically move the VMs between hosts. The VMs are moved while running and with minimal downtime. If an individual XenServer host suffers a hardware failure, you can restart the failed VMs on another host in the same pool.

If the high availability feature is enabled, protected VMs are automatically moved if a host fails. On an HA-enabled pool, a new pool coordinator is automatically nominated if the pool coordinator is shut down.


For a description of heterogeneous pool technology, see Hosts and resource pools.

What you’ll learn

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create a pool of hosts
  • Set up a network for the pool
  • Bond NICs
  • Set up shared storage for the pool

While XenServer accommodates many shared storage solutions, this section focuses on two common types: NFS and iSCSI.


To create a pool with shared storage, you need the following items:

  • A second XenServer host, with similar processor type. Connect this host to your XenCenter application.
  • A storage repository for IP-based storage

To get you started quickly, this section focuses on creating homogeneous pools. Within a homogeneous pool, all hosts must have compatible processors and be running the same version of XenServer, under the same type of XenServer product license. For a full list of homogeneous pool requirements, see System requirements.

Create a pool

To create a pool:

  1. On the toolbar, click the New Pool button.

    The toolbar. The New Pool button is highlighted. This button is the fourth from the left.

  2. Enter a name and optional description for the new pool.

  3. Nominate the pool coordinator by selecting a host from the Coordinator list.

  4. Select the second host to place in the new pool from the Additional members list.

  5. Click Create Pool. The new pool appears in the Resources pane.

The XenCenter home screen showing a pool in the Navigation pane.

Set up networks for the pool

When you install XenServer, you create a network connection, typically on the first NIC in the pool where you specified an IP address (during XenServer installation).

However, you may need to connect your pool to VLANs and other physical networks. To do so, you must add these networks to the pool. You can configure XenServer to connect each NIC to one physical network and numerous VLANs.

Before creating networks, ensure that the cabling matches on each host in the pool. Plug the NICs on each host into the same physical networks as the corresponding NICs on the other pool members.


If the NICs were not plugged in to the NICs on the host when you installed XenServer:

  • Plug the NICs in
  • In XenCenter, select <your host> > NICs tab
  • Click Rescan for them to appear

For additional information about configuring XenServer networking, see Networking and About XenServer Networks.

To add a network to XenServer:

  1. In the Resources pane in XenCenter, select the pool.

  2. Click the Networking tab.

  3. Click Add Network.

    The XenCenter console showing the Network tab for the pool in the main window.

  4. On the Select Type page, select External Network, and click Next.

  5. On the Name page, enter a meaningful name for the network and description.

  6. On the Network settings page, specify the following:

    • NIC: Select the NIC that you want XenServer to use to send and receive data from the network.

    • VLAN: If the network is a VLAN, enter the VLAN ID (or “tag”).

    • MTU: If the network uses jumbo frames, enter a value for the Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) between 1500 to 9216. Otherwise, leave the MTU box at its default value of 1500.

    If you configure many virtual machines to use this network, you can select the Automatically add this network to new virtual machines check box. This option adds the network by default.

  7. Click Finish.

Bonding NICs

NIC bonding can make your host more resilient by using two or more physical NICs as if they were a single, high-performing channel. This section only provides a very brief overview of bonding, also known as NIC teaming. Before configuring bonds for use in a production environment, we recommend reading more in-depth information about bonding. For more information, see Networking.

XenServer supports the following bond modes: Active/active, active/passive (active/backup), and LACP. Active/active provides load balancing and redundancy for VM-based traffic. For other types of traffic (storage and management), active/active cannot load balance traffic. As a result, LACP or multipathing are better choice for storage traffic. For information about multipathing, see Storage. For more information about bonding, see Networking.

LACP options are not visible or available unless you configure the vSwitch as the network stack. Likewise, your switches must support the IEEE 802.3ad standard. The switch must contain a separate LAG group configured for each LACP bond on the host. For more details about creating LAG groups, see Networking.

To bond NICs:

  1. Ensure that the NICs you want to bind together are not in use: shut down any VMs with virtual network interfaces using these NICs before creating the bond. After you have created the bond, reconnect the virtual network interfaces to an appropriate network.

  2. Select the host in the Resources pane then open the NICs tab and click Create Bond.

  3. Select the NICs you want to bond together. To select a NIC, select its check box in the list. Up to four NICs may be selected in this list. Clear the check box to deselect a NIC. To maintain a flexible and secure network, you can bond either two, three, or four NICs when vSwitch is the network stack. However, you can only bond two NICs when Linux bridge is the network stack.

  4. Under Bond mode, choose the type of bond:

    • Select Active-active to configure an active-active bond. Traffic is balanced between the bonded NICs. If one NIC within the bond fails, the host’s network traffic automatically routes over the second NIC.

    • Select Active-passive to configure an active-passive bond. Traffic passes over only one of the bonded NICs. In this mode, the second NIC only becomes active if the active NIC fails, for example, if it loses network connectivity.

    • Select LACP with load balancing based on source MAC address to configure a LACP bond. The outgoing NIC is selected based on MAC address of the VM from which the traffic originated. Use this option to balance traffic in an environment where you have several VMs on the same host. This option is not suitable if there are fewer virtual interfaces (VIFs) than NICs: as load balancing is not optimal because the traffic cannot be split across NICs.

    • Select LACP with load balancing based on IP and port of source and destination to configure a LACP bond. The source IP address, source port number, destination IP address, and destination port number are used to allocate the traffic across the NICs. Use this option to balance traffic from VMs in an environment where the number of NICs exceeds the number of VIFs.


      LACP bonding is only available for the vSwitch, whereas active-active and active-passive bonding modes are available for both the vSwitch and Linux bridge. For information about networking stacks, see Networking.

  5. To use jumbo frames, set the Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) to a value between 1500 to 9216.

  6. To have the new bonded network automatically added to any new VMs created using the New VM wizard, select the check box.

  7. Click Create to create the NIC bond and close the dialog box.

    XenCenter automatically moves management and secondary interfaces from secondary bonded NICs to the bond interface when the new bond is created. A host with its management interface on a bond is not permitted to join a pool. Before the host can join a pool, you must reconfigure the management interface and move it back on to a physical NIC.

Setting up shared storage for the pool

To connect the hosts in a pool to a remote storage array, create a XenServer SR. The SR is the storage container where a VM’s virtual disks are stored. SRs are persistent, on-disk objects that exist independently of XenServer. SRs can exist on different types of physical storage devices, both internal and external. These types include local disk devices and shared network storage.

You can configure a XenServer SR for various different types of storage, including:

  • NFS

  • Software iSCSI

  • Hardware HBA

  • SMB

  • Fibre Channel

  • Software FCoE (deprecated)

This section steps through setting up two types of shared SRs for a pool of hosts: NFS and iSCSI. Before you create an SR, configure your NFS or iSCSI storage array. Setup differs depending on the type of storage solution that you use. For more information, see your vendor documentation. Generally, before you begin, complete the following setup for your storage solution:

  • iSCSI SR: You must have created a volume and a LUN on the storage array.

  • NFS SR: You must have created the volume on the storage device.

  • Hardware HBA: You must have done the configuration required to expose the LUN before running the New Storage Repository wizard

  • Software FCoE SR: You must have manually completed the configuration required to expose a LUN to the host. This setup includes configuring the FCoE fabric and allocating LUNs to your SAN’s public world wide name (PWWN).

If you are creating an SR for IP-based storage (iSCSI or NFS), you can configure one of the following as the storage network: the NIC that handles the management traffic or a new NIC for the storage traffic. To configure a different a NIC for storage traffic, assign an IP address to a NIC by creating a management interface.

When you create a management interface, you must assign it an IP address that meets the following criteria:

  • The IP address is on the same subnet as the storage controller, if applicable
  • The IP address is on a different subnet than the IP address you specified when you installed XenServer
  • The IP address is not on the same subnet as any other management interfaces.

To assign an IP address to a NIC:

  1. Ensure that the NIC is on a separate subnet or that routing is configured to suit your network topology. This configuration forces the desired traffic over the selected NIC.

  2. In the Resource pane of XenCenter, select the pool (or standalone host). Click the Networking tab, and then click the Configure button.

  3. In the Configure IP Address dialog, in the left pane, click Add IP address.

  4. Give the new interface a meaningful name (for example, yourstoragearray_network). Select the Network associated with the NIC that you use for storage traffic.

  5. Click Use these network settings. Enter a static IP address that you want to configure on the NIC, the subnet mask, and gateway. Click OK. The IP address must be on the same subnet as the storage controller the NIC is connected to.


Whenever you assign a NIC an IP address, it must be on a different subnet than any other NICs with IP addresses in the pool. This includes the primary management interface.

To create a new shared NFS or iSCSI storage repository:

  1. On the Resources pane, select the pool. On the toolbar, click the New Storage button.

    The toolbar. The New Storage button is highlighted. This button is fifth from the left.

    The New Storage Repository wizard opens.

    The New Storage wizard. On the Type panel, the NFS option is selected.

  2. Under Virtual disk storage, choose NFS or iSCSI as the storage type. Click Next to continue.

  3. If you choose NFS:

    1. Enter a name for the new SR and the name of the share where it is located. Click Scan to have the wizard scan for existing NFS SRs in the specified location.


      The NFS host must be configured to export the specified path to all XenServer hosts in the pool.

    2. Click Finish.

      The new SR appears in the Resources pane, within the pool.

  4. If you choose iSCSI:

    1. Enter a name for the new SR and then the IP address or DNS name of the iSCSI target.


      The iSCSI storage target must be configured to enable every XenServer host in the pool to have access to one or more LUNs.

    2. If you have configured the iSCSI target to use CHAP authentication, enter the user name and password.

    3. Click the Scan Target Host button, and then choose the iSCSI target IQN from the Target IQN list.


      The iSCSI target and all hosts in the pool must have unique IQNs.

    4. Click Target LUN, and then select the LUN on which to create the SR from the Target LUN list.


      Each individual iSCSI storage repository must be contained entirely on a single LUN and cannot span more than one LUN. Any data present on the chosen LUN is destroyed.

    5. Click Finish.

      The new SR appears in the Resources pane, within the pool.

The new shared SR now becomes the default SR for the pool.

Create virtual machines

Through XenCenter, you can create virtual machines in various ways, according to your needs. Whether you are deploying individual VMs with distinct configurations or groups of multiple, similar VMs, XenCenter gets you up and running in just a few steps.

XenServer also provides an easy way to convert batches of virtual machines from VMware. For more information, see Conversion Manager.

This section focuses on a few methods by which to create Windows VMs. To get started quickly, the procedures use the simplest setup of XenServer: a single XenServer host with local storage (after you connect XenCenter to the XenServer host, storage is automatically configured on the local disk of the host).

This section also demonstrates how to use live migration to live migrate VMs between hosts in the pool.

After explaining how to create and customize your new VM, this section demonstrates how to convert that existing VM into a VM template. A VM template preserves your customization so you can always use it to create VMs to the same (or to similar) specifications. It also reduces the time taken to create multiple VMs.

You can also create a VM template from a snapshot of an existing VM. A snapshot is a record of a running VM at a point in time. It saves the storage, configuration, and networking information of the original VM, which makes it useful for backup purposes. Snapshots provide a fast way to make VM templates. This section demonstrates how to take a snapshot of an existing VM and then how to convert that snapshot into a VM template. Finally, this section describes how to create VMs from a VM template.

What you’ll learn

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create a Windows 10 VM
  • Install XenServer VM Tools for Windows
  • Migrate a running VM between hosts in the pool
  • Create a VM template
  • Create a VM from a VM template


To create a pool with shared storage, you need the following items:

  • The XenServer pool you set up
  • XenCenter
  • Installation files for Windows 10 VM
  • Installation files for XenServer VM Tools for Windows

Create a Windows 10 VM


The following procedure provides an example of creating Windows 10 VM. The default values may vary depending on the operating system that you choose.

To create a Windows VM:

  1. On the toolbar, click the New VM button to open the New VM wizard.

    The toolbar. The New VM button is highlighted. The button is sixth from the left.

    The New VM wizard allows you to configure the new VM, adjusting various parameters for CPU, storage, and networking resources.

  2. Select a VM template and click Next.

    Each template contains the setup information for creating a VM with a specific guest operating system (OS), and with optimum storage. This list reflects the templates that XenServer currently supports.


    If the OS you’re installing on your new VM is compatible only with the original hardware, check the Copy host BIOS strings to VM box. For example, use this option for an OS installation CD that was packaged with a specific computer.

    After you first start a VM, you cannot change its BIOS strings. Ensure that the BIOS strings are correct before starting the VM for the first time.

  3. Enter a name for and optional description of the new VM.

  4. Choose the source of the OS media to install on the new VM.

    Installing from a CD/DVD is the simplest option for getting started. Choose the default installation source option (DVD drive), insert the disk into the DVD drive of the XenServer host, and choose Next to proceed.

    XenServer also allows you to pull OS installation media from a range of sources, including a pre-existing ISO library.

    To attach a pre-existing ISO library, click New ISO library and indicate the location and type of ISO library. You can then choose the specific operating system ISO media from the list.

  5. The VM runs on the installed host. Choose Next to proceed.

  6. Allocate processor and memory resources.

    Each OS has different configuration requirements which are reflected in the templates. You can choose to modify the defaults if necessary. Click Next to continue.

  7. Assign a graphics processing unit (GPU).

    The New VM wizard prompts you to assign a dedicated GPU or virtual GPUs to the VM. This option enables the VM to use the processing power of the GPU. It provides better support for high-end 3D professional graphics applications such as CAD, GIS, and Medical Imaging applications.


    GPU Virtualization is available for XenServer Premium Edition customers.

  8. Configure storage for the new VM.

    Click Next to select the default allocation and configuration, or you might want to:

    1. Change the name, description, or size of your virtual disk by clicking Edit.

    2. Add a new virtual disk by selecting Add.


    When you create a pool of XenServer hosts, you can configure shared storage at this point when creating a VM.

  9. Configure networking on the new VM.

    Click Next to select the default NIC and configurations, including an automatically created unique MAC address for each NIC, or you can:

    1. Change the physical network, MAC address, or Quality of Service (QoS) priority of the virtual disk by clicking Edit.

    2. Add a new virtual network interface by selecting Add.

      XenServer uses the virtual network interface to connect to the physical network on the host. Be sure to select the network that corresponds with the network the virtual machine requires. To add a physical network, see Setting Up Networks for the Pool.

  10. Review settings, and then click Create Now to create the VM and return to the Search tab.

    An icon for your new VM appears under the host in the Resources pane.

    The XenCenter application. In the Resources pane, the VM is selected. In the main window, the Console tab is open. The Windows desktop is visible in the panel.

    On the Resources pane, select the VM, and then click the Console tab to see the VM console.

  11. Follow the OS installation screens and make your selections.

  12. After the OS installation completes and the VM reboots, install the XenServer VM Tools for Windows.

Install XenServer VM Tools for Windows

XenServer VM Tools for Windows provide high performance I/O services without the overhead of traditional device emulation. XenServer VM Tools for Windows consists of I/O drivers (also known as paravirtualized drivers or PV drivers) and the Management Agent. XenServer VM Tools for Windows must be installed on each Windows VM for the VM to have a fully supported configuration. A Windows VM functions without them, but performance is hampered. XenServer VM Tools for Windows also enable certain functions and features, including cleanly shutting down, rebooting, suspending and live migrating VMs.


Install XenServer VM Tools for Windows for each Windows VM. Running Windows VMs without XenServer VM Tools for Windows is not supported.

We recommend that you snapshot your VM before installing or updating the XenServer VM Tools.

To install XenServer VM Tools for Windows:

  1. Download the XenServer VM Tools for Windows file onto your Windows VM. Get this file from the XenServer downloads page.

  2. Run the managementagentx64.msi file to begin XenServer VM Tools installation.

  3. Follow the prompts in the installer.

  4. Restart the VM when prompted to complete the installation process.


I/O drivers are automatically installed on a Windows VM that can receive updates from Windows Update. However, we recommend that you install the XenServer VM Tools for Windows package to install the Management Agent, and to maintain a supported configuration. The following features are available only for XenServer Premium Edition customers:

  • Ability to receive I/O drivers from Windows Update
  • Automatic updating of the Management Agent

After you have installed the XenServer VM Tools for Windows, you can customize your VM by installing applications and performing any other configurations. If you want to create multiple VMs with similar specifications, you can do so quickly by making a template from the existing VM. Use that template to create VMs. For more information, see Creating VM Templates.

Migrate running VMs between hosts in a pool

Using live migration, you can move a running VM from one host to another in the same pool, and with virtually no service interruption. Where you decide to migrate a VM to depends on how you configure the VM and pool.

To migrate a running VM:

  1. On the Resources pane, select the VM that you want to move.


    Ensure that the VM you migrate does not have local storage.

  2. Right-click the VM icon, point to Migrate to Server, and then select the new VM host.


    You can also drag the VM onto the target host.

    The XenCenter application. The context menu for a VM is open. Migrate to Server submenu is selected and a list of available servers is displayed.

  3. The migrated VM displays under the new host in the Resources pane.

Create VM templates

There are various ways to create a VM template from an existing Windows VM, each with its individual benefits. This section focuses on two methods: converting an existing VM into a template, and creating a template from a snapshot of a VM. In both cases, the VM template preserves the customized configuration of the original VM or VM snapshot. The template can then be used to create new, similar VMs quickly. This section demonstrates how to make new VMs from these templates.

Before you create a template from an existing VM or VM snapshot, we recommend that you run the Windows utility Sysprep on the original VM. In general, running Sysprep prepares an operating system for disk cloning and restoration. Windows OS installations include many unique elements per installation (including Security Identifiers and computer names). These elements must stay unique and not be copied to new VMs. If copied, confusion and problems are likely to arise. Running Sysprep avoids these problems by allowing the generation of new, unique elements for the new VMs.


Running Sysprep may not be as necessary for basic deployments or test environments as it is for production environments.

For more information about Sysprep, see your Windows documentation. The detailed procedure of running this utility can differ depending on the version of Windows installed.

Create a VM template from an existing VM

To create a VM template from an existing VM:


When you create a template from an existing VM, the new template replaces the original VM. The VM no longer exists.

  1. Shut down the VM that you want to convert.

  2. On the Resources pane, right-click the VM, and select Convert to Template.

  3. Click Convert to confirm.

    Once you create the template, the new VM template appears in the Resources pane, replacing the existing VM.

Create a VM template from a VM snapshot

To create a template from a snapshot of a VM:

  1. On the Resources pane, select the VM. Click the Snapshots tab, and then Take Snapshot.

  2. Enter a name and an optional description of the new snapshot. Click Take Snapshot.

  3. Once the snapshot finishes and the icon displays in the Snapshots tab, select the icon of the new snapshot. From the Actions list, choose New Template from Snapshot.

    The XenCenter application. In the **Resources** pane, a VM is selected. In the main window, the **Snapshots** tab is open.

  4. Enter a name for the template, and then click Create.

Create VMs from a VM template

To create a VM from a customized VM template:

  1. On the XenCenter Resources pane, right-click the template, and select New VM wizard.

    The New VM wizard opens.

  2. Follow the New VM wizard to create a VM from the selected template.


    When the wizard prompts you for an OS installation media source, select the default and continue.

    The new VM appears in the Resources pane.

If you are using a template created from an existing VM, you can also choose to select Quick Create. This option does not take you through the New VM wizard. Instead this option instantly creates and provisions a new VM using all the configuration settings specified in your template.

Quick start