Recently I experienced a problem where a previously working XP template deployment suddenly stopped working. The sysprep kicked in on first boot and the VM restarted back to the sysprep dialogue boxes. Usually the customization specifications would fill in the necessary details as an answer file would and the VM would boot up fully customized.
After a bit of rooting around I discovered an old post in VMware communities that provided a solution. It turns out that the Altiris Client installed within the template in some way blocks vCenter from deploying the answer file to the guest.
The fix was as follows:
1. Boot up the template guest
2. Open up the services list (Start -> Run -> Services.msc)
3. Right click the Altiris Client service (aclient) and select Properties. Set the start mode to disabled.
4. Shutdown the template and revert it back to a template.
5. Now open up your customization preferences for this operating system and click through until you get to the option to run programmes on first boot after sysprepping.
6. Type in
cmd /c sc config aclient start= auto
(note the space between = and auto)
and click add
7. Now add another line
cmd /c sc start aclient
and add that.
8. Save your changed customization specification
9. Deploy a new VM using this customization specification
For more information check out the original communities post.