Installing VMware ESXi 4.0 from USB

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

Done!

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2 thoughts on “Installing VMware ESXi 4.0 from USB

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