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Jamie Thomson

This is the blog of Jamie Thomson, a data mangler in London working for Dunnhumby

Clone an Azure VM using Powershell

In a few months time I will, in association with Technitrain, be running a training course entitled Introduction to SQL Server Data Tools. I am currently working on putting together some hands-on lab material for the course delegates and have decided that in order to save time in asking people to install software during the course I am simply going to prepare a virtual machine (VM) containing all the software and lab material for each delegate to use. Given that I am an MSDN subscriber it makes sense to use Windows Azure to host those VMs given that it will be close to, if not completely, free to do so.

What I don’t want to do however is separately build a VM for each delegate, I would much rather build one VM and clone it for each delegate. I’ve spent a bit of time figuring out how to do this using Powershell and in this blog post I am sharing a script that will:

  1. Prompt for some information (Azure credentials, Azure subscription name, VM name, username & password, etc…)
  2. Create a VM on Azure using that information
  3. Prompt you to sysprep the VM and image it (this part can’t be done with Powershell so has to be done manually, a link to instructions is provided in the script output)
  4. Create three new VMs based on the image
  5. Remove those three VMs


The script has one pre-requisite that you will need to install, Windows Azure Powershell. You also need to be a Windows Azure subscriber which, if you're reading this blog post, I'm assuming you already are.

Simply download the script and execute it within Powershell, assuming you have an Azure account it should take about 20minutes to execute (spinning up VMs and shutting the down isn’t instantaneous). If you experience any issues please do let me know.

There are additional notes below.

Hope this is useful!



  • Obviously there isn’t a lot of point in creating some new VMs and then instantly deleting them. However, this demo script does provide everything you need should you want to do any of these operations in isolation.
  • The names of the three VMs that get created will be suffixed with 001, 002, 003 but you can edit the script to call them whatever you like.
  • The script doesn’t totally clean up after itself. If you specify a service name & storage account name that don’t already exist then it will create them however it won’t remove them when everything is complete. The created image file will also not be deleted. Removing these items can be done by visiting
  • When creating the image, ensure you use the correct name (the script output tells you what name to use):


  • Here are some screenshots taken from running the script:



  • When the third and final VM gets removed you are asked to confirm via this dialog:


Select ‘Yes’

Published Monday, November 4, 2013 10:10 AM by jamiet

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