Create Bootable VMware ESXi Installer USB Drive

Getting ESXi installed on a server today is more often done through the servers BMC (iLO, iDRAC, CMC, etc). But this guide might be helpful when installing vSphere on a standalone server. The tool of choice for any bootable USB is my friend Rufus.

There are three things you will need to do this:

  • Download Rufus Here
  • Download whatever .iSO image you want to be bootable (whether its WIndows, ESXi, or Linux).
  • Use a somewhat quality USB Flash Drive (1GB or larger). For some reason, I will run into some cheap-o thumb drives that do not boot anything. If your boot drive doesn’t work, try a different flash drive

 

Here are the easy steps:

  • Insert your blank (or soon to be formatted) flash drive into your PC
  • Open Rufus

  • Under Device, select the flash drive you wish to format and use
  • Select MBR partition Scheme for BIOS or UEFI
  • Filesystem = Fat32
  • Use default Cluster Size (4096 bytes)
  • Click the icon next to FreeDOS and select your ISO image
  • Rename the New Volume Label to whatever you wish to see when you insert the flash drive into a PC
  • Click Start

  • When prompted to replace menu.c32, select Yes

  • Finally, click Yes to the warning that this flash drive will be formatted (destroyed)

 

That’s it. It will take a couple of mins, but you should have a bootable flash drive.