I wanted to create servers and clients with the least effort, I didn’t want to have to spend hours setting up my lab to test one setting. So I decided to use differencing disks. To create my parent disk I used the 2012R2 preview ISO available from the Microsoft evaluation site. The steps to actually create this are below
Create a new VM (definitely a Gen2 if you are installing 2012 or 2012R2 on a R2 hyper-v machine), doesn’t matter too much about spec
Specify your iso as the contents of the Cd drive and set it to boot from CD in the vm bios
Start the vm
Run through the setup, enter the admin password etc
Once on the desktop, configure windows as little or as much as you would like remember this will be the base for all your machines anything you install will be on all of them. I added the PowerShell ISE as I use this on all my servers while testing, might be worth adding windows backup if you intend on testing DPM.
run sysprep.exe from C:WindowsSystem32\Sysprep with the below options
Once the VM is shutdown, copy your vhd/vhdx file to a folder on your host that will be your “template repository”, I use E:\templates.Also, set it to be read-only just in case
Delete the VM and remove the associated files from your host.
and you done !