The normal procedure to convert a template to a virtual machine is to right-click the template in the vSphere Web Client and select the menu-option Convert to Virtual Machine. You would do this for example if you need to update the template with new software, patches or other modifications before using it to deploy additional virtual machines. When the virtual machine is updated you then convert it back to a template.
When you want to use USB devices in a virtual machine you don't want to connect them to your physical ESXi-host and then from there pass through to a virtual machine. By doing this you pin the virtual machine to the host. For example with a failover the virtual machine would boot on another host and would not be able to connect to it's USB-device, which is still plugged into the failed host. Also with vMotion your options are limited. To solve this problem several solutions have been around to access USB-devices remotely via the network.
VMware offers several types of virtual network adapters that you can add to your virtual machines. Depending on the operating system you install it will select a default adapter when you create a VM. For Windows the default adapter type is the Intel E1000. There is however an adapter that will give you a better performance, which is the VMware VMXNET3 adapter. More information about choosing the right adapter, supported operating systems and the performance benefits of this adapter can be found in these locations:
Update Manager is available for all VMware vSphere customers that also run vCenter. It is a separate install on a Windows server that allows administrators to patch and upgrade ESXi-hosts but also to update virtual machines to the latest version of the VMware Tools and new virtual hardware. In this article I focus on these last two features.
Note: As a prerequisite for this article you need to have vCenter Server and Update Manager already installed.
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