Welcome to the blog of mechanised.com

This blog is mainly a technical repository of information on Virtualisation tools and management for our hosting service.

Also for HP's Bladesystem that we use at both our datacentres.

Other articles are also included on .Net development and MS SQL Server as well as other interesting things we come across.

Sunday 27 July 2008

How to Create Your Own Bootable ESXi USB Stick

HOW TO Create your own bootable ESX 3i usb stick


  • 1 GB USB flash drive
  • WinImage
  • 7Zip

Of course you can use your favourite tools and larger USB flash drives, but 1 GB is enough space for the boot image.
Perform the following steps to create a bootable ESX Server 3i USB flash drive:

  1. Download ESX Server 3i Installable ISO
  2. Extract INSTALL.TGZ from the root directory of the ISO image using an 7Zip
  3. Extract /usr/lib/vmware/installer/VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0-xxxxx.i386.dd.bz2 from INSTALL.TGZ using 7Zip
  4. Extract VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0-xxxxx.i386.dd from VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0-xxxxx.i386.dd.bz2 using 7Zip
  5. Attach the USB flash drive and make sure you no longer need the data on it
  6. Use WinImage to transfer VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0-xxxxx.i386.dd to the USB flash drive
    1. Disk->Restore Virtual Hard Disk image on physical drive…
    2. Select the USB flash drive (Warning: If you select the wrong disk you will lose data!)
    3. Select the image file VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0-xxxxx.i386.dd
    4. Confirm the warning message
    5. Wait for the transfer to complete
  7. Unplug the USB flash drive (Warning: If you forget to unplug the flash drive from the PC you might lose the data on your hard drives the next time you boot!)
  8. Attach the USB flash drive to the machine you want to boot (Warning: If ESX Server 3i recognizes local drives, you might lose the data on it, so make sure you don´t need it anymore or unplug all hard drives!)
  9. Turn the machine on and make sure the USB flash drive is selected as boot device
  10. Watch ESX Server 3i boot
  11. Configure
  12. Enjoy!

1 comment:

torh said...


This can also be done using Linux [1], also it is possible to get some additional hardware support by editing a few files [2]. Like adding support for extra SATA-controllers.

[1] http://kuparinen.org/martti/comp/vmware/esxionusb.html
[2] http://blog.torh.net/2009/02/22/running-vmware-esxi-hypervisor/