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Create a VMWare ESXi 5 5.1 5.5 USB install disk

Published: 27-02-2013 | Author: Remy van Elst | Text only version of this article

Table of Contents

If you need to install VMWare ESXi 5.1 and your shiny new server does not have aCD/DVD drive but 8 SSD's, what do you do? You convert the ISO image to a USBinstall disk.

This also works for the special HP version of ESXi with all the drivers.

If you like this article, consider sponsoring me by trying out a Digital OceanVPS. With this link you'll get $100 credit for 60 days). (referral link)

These steps come from the VMware install guide, but the VMWare website andtheir search function are both shit. And the steps in the manual don'tcompletely work, so here's the fix for it.


You'll need:

Install required software:

# This is for debian/ubuntuapt-get install dosfstools mtools syslinux

Insert your USB drive in your linux server and find the device name (dmesg), inmy case it was /dev/sdc.

Preparing the USB drive

2We are going to completely format the USB drive, ALL DATA WILL BE WIPED.

/sbin/fdisk /dev/sdc

The result should be similar to the following text:

Disk /dev/sdc: 2004 MB, 2004877312 bytes255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 243 cylindersUnits = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System/dev/sdc1 * 1 243 1951866 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)

/sbin/mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n USB /dev/sdc1

Now we are going to install the syslinux bootloader to the USB device. Pleasereplace the path below with the location where your downloaded and extractedversion of syslinux is.

syslinux /dev/sdc1cat /path/to/syslinux/download/mbr/mbr.bin > /dev/sdC

Copy the ISO

First create two mount folders, one for the USB drive, and one for the ISO:

mkdir -p /mnt/{iso,usb}

Now mount the VMWare ESXi 5.1 iso

mount -o loop ./path/to/vmware-esxi-5.1.iso /mnt/iso

And mount the USB stick:

mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/usb

Copy the ISO over to the USB stick:

cp -r /mnt/iso/* /mnt/usb

Go to the USB stick mount folder:

cd /mnt/usb


cp isolinux.cfg syslinux.cfg

Edit syslinux.cfg:

vim syslinux.cfg

And change the line DEFAULT menu.c32 to DEFAULT mboot.c32.

The file should look like this (mind version numbers):

DEFAULT mboot.c32MENU TITLE ESXi-5.1.0-799733-standard Boot MenuNOHALT 1PROMPT 0TIMEOUT 80LABEL install  KERNEL mboot.c32  APPEND -c boot.cfg -p 1  MENU LABEL ESXi-5.1.0-799733-standard ^InstallerLABEL hddboot  LOCALBOOT 0x80  MENU LABEL ^Boot from local disk

Now unmount the USB drive:

umount /mnt/usb

And you can boot from it and install ESXi.

Tags: esx, esx-5, esxi, flash, install, tutorials, usb, vmware