When it is not possible to install VMware ESXi 4.0 from a CD/DVD drive, and if the machine supports booting from USB, one can easily install from a USB drive. Preparing the USB drive to install ESXi 4.0 from it is very easy:
Create a FAT32 partition on the USB drive:
# install-mbr /dev/sdX # fdisk /dev/sdX ... # mkfs.vfat /dev/sdX1
Make sure the FAT32 partition is tagged as bootable/active in the MBR and that preferably it has a valid Win32 FAT32 partition type.
Next, copy the contents of the ESXi 4.0 CD into the FAT32 partition from the USB drive:
# mount -o loop /path/to/VMware-VMvisor-Installer-4.0.0-171294.x86_64.iso /mnt # mount /dev/sdX1 /media # cp /mnt/* /media # mv /media/isolinux.cfg /media/syslinux.cfg # umount /media # umount /mnt
The last step consists of installing syslinux into the FAT32 partition:
# syslinux -s /dev/sdX1