Microsoft Test Lab Guides

Recently Microsoft released a lot of Lab Guides for different Microsoft products to test. See

Test Lab Guides

Test lab guides (TLGs) allow you to get valuable hands-on experience with new products and technologies using a pre-defined and tested methodology that results in a working configuration. When you use a TLG to create a test lab, instructions define what servers to create, how to configure the operating systems and system services, and how to install and configure any additional products or technologies. A TLG experience enables you to see all of the components and the configuration steps on both the front-end and back-end that are required for a product or technology or for a multi-product or technology solution.

A challenge in creating useful TLGs is to enable their reusability and extensibility. Because creating a test lab can represent a significant investment of time and resources, your ability to reuse and extend the work required to create test labs is important. An ideal test lab environment would enable you to create a basic lab configuration, save that configuration, and then build out multiple test lab scenarios in the future by starting with the base configuration.

For a test lab based on physical computers, you can image the drives for future test labs. For a test lab based on virtual machines, you can create snapshots for future test labs. This allows you to easily return to a desired configuration for further learning and experimentation.

The types of TLG documents are the following:

  • Base configuration TLG
  • Modular TLGs
  • TLG extensions
  • Troubleshooting TLGs
  • Test lab troubleshooting scenarios
  • TLG portal pages

Base Configuration TLG

The Base Configuration TLG allows you to create the base configuration test lab, upon which you can build test labs based on other TLGs from Microsoft, TLG extensions in the TechNet Wiki, or a test lab of your own design that can include Microsoft or non-Microsoft products.

The base configuration TLG is just the beginning of the test lab experience. Other TLGs or TLG extensions in the TechNet Wiki focus on Microsoft products or platform technologies, but all of them use the Base Configuration TLG as a starting point.

After configuring the computers of the base configuration test lab, make sure that you perform a disk image on each computer if you are using physical computers, or perform virtual machine snapshots if you are using virtual machines.

Modular TLGs

A modular TLG describes how to set up and demonstrate a technology, product, or solution for either the Base Configuration test lab or a test lab based on another modular TLG.

The following modular TLGs are available:

To create your own modular TLG in the TechNet Wiki, see the Wiki: Modular Test Lab Guide Template.

TLG Extensions

A TLG extension article, published in the TechNet Wiki, describes how to configure additional functionality or advanced or uncommon configurations based on a working test lab. A TLG extension extends a modular TLG.

The TLG extension article includes instructions to configure and test the additional functionality, and then manually restore the test lab to its original state. A TLG extension article also includes virtualization advice so that you can create snapshots to store the modified test lab configuration and easily restore the original working test lab configuration.

Examples of TLG extensions are the following:

To create your own TLG extension, see Wiki: Test Lab Extension Template.

Troubleshooting TLGs

A troubleshooting TLG describes the troubleshooting tools and how they appear in a working test lab for a technology, product, or multi-technology and product solution. The working test lab is typically based on a modular TLG.

A troubleshooting TLG also takes you through a set of troubleshooting scenarios. Each troubleshooting scenario steps you through the following:

  • Breaking the configuration of the test lab in a specific way
  • Demonstrating the effect on the technology or product functionality
  • Performing root cause analysis of the problem using the troubleshooting tools and recommended troubleshooting techniques
  • Correcting the problem

The following troubleshooting TLGs are available:

To create your own troubleshooting TLG in the TechNet Wiki, see the Wiki: Troubleshooting Test Lab Guide Template.

Test Lab Troubleshooting Scenarios

A test lab troubleshooting scenario, published in the TechNet Wiki, provides an additional scenario to demonstrate the results of a misconfiguration or other type of common problem and guide the reader through the root cause determination and correction. Test lab troubleshooting scenarios extend a troubleshooting TLG.

For an example of a test lab troubleshooting scenario, click here.

To create your own test lab troubleshooting scenario, see Wiki: Test Lab Troubleshooting Scenario Template.

TLG Portal Pages

A TLG portal page is a TechNet Wiki article that provides links to all of the resources for a specific technology or product.

The following TLG portal pages are available:

Additional Resources

For the latest information about TLGs, see the Microsoft TLG blog.

Related articles:

The information in this article is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights. This article does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. It is solely my opinion.


Marco works for ViaData as a Senior Technical Consultant. He has over 15 years experience as a system engineer and consultant, specialized in virtualization. VMware VCP4, VCP5-DC & VCP5-DT. VMware vExpert 2013, 2014,2015 & 2016. Microsoft MCSE & MCITP Enterprise Administrator. Veeam VMSP, VMTSP & VMCE.