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Create a Bootable VMware ESXi USB Flash Drive Installer

Today we are going to show you how to creaste a bootable VMware ESXi USB flash drive that can be used to install a new system.

WARNING - Make sure you specify the correct disk/device name. This may or may not be different on your system. There is a good chance it will be different from what you wee in the examples here so don’t just blindly copy what you see here. If you aren’t careful you may loose data.

Become root. This is optional, you could just as well prefix most commands with sudo.

sudo su -

List your available disks using fdisk.

fdisk -l

Use fdisk to repartition your USB disk:

fdisk /dev/sdb

You will essentially need these fdisk options, in this order.

  p,  1, enter, enter

Format the partition on your drive as FAT32.

mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n USB /dev/sdb1

Install syslinux on your partition.

syslinux /dev/sdb1

Write the syslinux MBR image over your disk’s MBR.

cat /usr/lib/syslinux/mbr/mbr.bin > /dev/sdb

Create a directory over which you can mount your USB drive.

mkdir /usbdisk

Actually mount the drive.

mount /dev/sdb1 /usbdisk

Create a directory to mount your CD ISO image. :

mkdir /esxi_cdrom

Mount the image. Make sure to use the actual path to your image.

mount -o loop /home/user1/Desktop/VMWARE/ESXi____VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0U2a-17867351.x86_64.iso /esxi_cdrom

Copy the contents of the ISO image to the USB disk.

cp -r /esxi_cdrom/* /usbdisk

Rename a config file:

mv /usbdisk/isolinux.cfg /usbdisk/syslinux.cfg

Edit that file:

vi /usbdisk/syslinux.cfg

Remove this line:

APPEND -c boot.cfg

And replace it with this:

APPEND -c boot.cfg -p 1

Unmount the ISO and the USB drive.

umount /usbdisk
umount /esxi_cdrom

You should now be all set. You can remove the disk and use it to boot and install ESXi.


Here is my video showing how this can be done: