Now, we're finally ready to install Windows. Select the VM you created, and click the start button. The dialog will ask where to boot from. You should already have your Windows installation disk in the optical drive at this point, so go ahead and click next. Complete the Windows installation as you normally would. When you are finished the machine will reboot and boot the VM with the newly installed Windows. At this point, I would recommended configuring several things so they propagate to your appliance that we'll create later:
- Users and Passwords, including login pictures
- Network mapped resources
- Task bar and Start menu customization
- and Most Importantly, Windows Activation!
We'll discuss Activation in a moment, but first let's consider some other important things. We chose not to enable Windows Updates at this time. The VM is essentially an appliance. If you want to turn on updates, feel free. One thing to consider is that the Windows Genuine Advantage software may "decide" at some point that your activation is not genuine. If you never install this or any other updates, you activation should be perpetual. We also chose not to install Antivirus software on the VM, since the host machine generally should protect it. Intrusions and infections are still possible, so you should consider your scenario and configure accordingly.
Now, Activation. You should Activate this installation prior to cloning it. Why? because then all of your clones will already be activated, and you won't have to deal with it. Activation issues can be very frustrating, and if you change enough parameters about the VM, your activation will be considered invalid at boot, and you will need to reactivate.