Online Gallery Support Coming to Hyper-V Quick Create

Posted on July 1, 2017 by Rafael Rivera in Windows 10 with 7 Comments

Microsoft introduced Hyper-V Quick Create — the one-page virtual machine creation wizard — back in January. But hidden away in recent Insider builds are bits tied to an upcoming addition called Online Gallery.

Online Gallery, as the name suggests, connects to one or more virtual disk image galleries on the web and presents starting images for you to choose from. It fits right in with the Hyper-V Quick Create ethos: You select an image, click Create Virtual Machine, and you’re done.

It’s that easy.

Presumably Microsoft’s official gallery will collate images scattered around on the Internet, such as the ones built for Microsoft Edge and Windows 10 development. But the official gallery isn’t available yet, so I disassembled the app and figured out how to create my own.

Behind the curtain, an Online Gallery is simply a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file hosted on a web server. This file contains one or more images and any associated metadata like name, publisher, version, virtual disk location, etc. It’s normally hosted by Microsoft, for obvious security reasons, but you can override this behavior and self-host your own Online Gallery.

To point the app to your gallery, define a REG_MULTI_SZ called GalleryLocations at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Virtualization containing at least one URL pointing to your JSON file. (You can later, for example, push this change down to client machines in an Active Directory forest.) The app will automatically look for images at the new location next time it’s started.

You can grab my sample gallery from GitHub and use it as a starting point if you wish. (Just note that the SHA-256 hashes are required.)

If you create any cool galleries, share them below and we’ll give them a whirl!

(Free idea: A gallery with recent Windows Insider images would be extremely handy.)

Update (1/10/2018): Microsoft has documented some of this in a Technet blog post. Be sure to check that out.

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