Is There Any Easy Way to Have Multiple Virtual Machines with Same OS?

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Yes!! There is surely a way to do so.

If you are using VMware Workstation (any version), you can easily create clones of a single virtual machine that have any operating system of your choice installed on it. Although you can simply copy the files of the VMware virtual machine which are created and stored on your hard disk drive as soon as you have created the virtual machine, it is not a very practical approach because if you want to use the operating systems installed on the virtual machines in a client/server architecture, and when you add the guest OS to a domain, the copied virtual machines would fail to authenticate the domain users with the domain controller when they try to log on to the domain accounts on the guest operating systems.

The reason behind this kind of behavior of the guest operating systems of the copied virtual machines is that when you create a copy of an existing virtual machine, the SID or security identifier information is also copied. Because of this, all the virtual machines that are created from the copy of the original virtual machine have the identical security identifier, and when the guest operating systems on the virtual machines are added to the domain, the domain controller sees them as a single entity instead of accepting them as separate computers with separate instances of the operating system.

On the other hand, when you create a clone of any existing virtual machine that have an instance of operating system installed on it, all its OS specific information such as the security identifier, the hostname, etc. are automatically nullified before the clone of the VM is created. Once the clone of the VM is created, and when you start the cloned virtual machine, you are required to provide operating system specific information, which further makes the VM and its guest operating system
a unique entity.


A short workaround to get the job done easily and quickly can be that you create a clone of an existing virtual machine, and when the clone is created, you can create multiple copies of the cloned VM. Make sure that you do not start the cloned virtual machine until you have created multiple copies of it. If you start the cloned VM before creating its copies, it would again generate a unique security identifier and get the other operating system specific information, hence taking you back to the initial stage from where you are then required to create a clone of the VM again.
Below are the instructions that would guide you through the process of creating a clone of a virtual machine in VMware Workstation:

  • Initialize the VMware Workstation application. (Although VMware Workstation 6.5 is used for this demonstration, almost every version of the program has same options.).
  • Make sure that the virtual machine that you want to clone is powered off.
  • On the opened VMware Workstation interface, click to select the target virtual machine from the sidebar in the left.
  • Once selected, click the VM menu from the menu bar.
  • From the displayed list, click Clone.
  • On the opened Clone Virtual Machine Wizard welcome screen, click Next to proceed.
  • On the Clone Source window, make sure that The current state in the virtual machine radio button is selected under the Clone from section.
  • Click Next to continue.
  • On the Clone Type window, under the Clone method section, click to select the Create a full clone radio button.
  • Click Next to proceed to the next step.
  • On the Name of the New Virtual Machine window, specify the name and the destination location for the cloned copy of the virtual machine in the Virtual machine name and Location fields respectively.
  • Once done, finally click Finish to start the cloning process.