Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Documentation

Preparing a Custom Windows Image for Emulation Mode

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure enables you to import a custom Windows image and then use the custom image to launch virtual machine (VM) instances in emulation mode. Before you can import the custom image, you need to prepare the custom image to ensure that instances launched from the custom image can boot correctly and that network connections will work. This topic describes the steps to prepare custom Windows images for import.

You can perform the tasks describe in this topic on the running source system. If you have concerns about modifying the live source system, you can export the image as-is, import it into Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and then launch an instance based on the custom image. You can then connect to the instance using the VNC console and perform the preparation steps. For more information, see Connecting to the VNC Console.


The system drive where Windows is installed will be imported to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. All partitions on the drive will follow through the imported image. Any other drives will not be imported and they need to be re-created on the instance after import. You'll then need to manually move the data on the non-system drives manually.


Follow your organization's security guidelines to make sure the Windows system is secured. This can include, but is not limited to the following tasks:

  • Install the latest security updates for the operating system and installed applications.

  • Enable the firewall, and configure it so that you only enable the rules which are needed.

  • Disable unnecessary privileged accounts.

  • Use strong password for all accounts.

Remote Desktop

You connect to Windows instances running in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure by using a Remote Desktop connection. For more information see Connecting to a Windows Instance and To enable RDP access. You need to make sure that Remote Desktop connections are enabled on the Windows system. For more information see Remote Desktop Client FAQ - Setting Up.

Load IDE Driver at Boot Time - Windows Server 2008 R2

Emulated instances have an emulated IDE boot drive, which requires that Windows have the IDE driver loaded by default at boot time. You need to perform the following steps for Windows Server 2008 R2 systems before exporting the image, otherwise the image will boot into recovery mode in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.


These steps only apply to Windows Server 2008 R2 images, Windows Server 2012 and newer images do not require these steps.

To load the IDE driver at boot time

Setting the Start key to 0 specifies that the kernel should load the driver at boot time. For more information, see What Determines When a Driver Is Loaded.

If this has not been configured before you export the image, and an instance launched from the image boots into recovery mode in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, you can configure this in recovery mode.

To configure the image to load the IDE driver at boot time from recovery mode

Image Generalization

Unless the imported image will only be launched on one VM instance, you should create a generalized image, which is an image cleaned of computer-specific information. The generalization process removes unique identifiers from the image, so when instances are created from the image, those unique identifiers will be re-generated. If not done, two instances launched from same image will collide on those identifiers. See Creating a Generalized Image for a step-by-step walkthrough of this process and Sysprep (Generalize) a Windows installation for general information.

You should perform this step prior to importing the image to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. If this is not an option, you could perform this step on an instance created from a specialized image, and create a custom image based on this instance which you could then create a generalized image from.