- Download the ESXi ISO.
- Download UNetbootin.
- Insert a blank USB thumb drive & format it using FAT32.
- Run UNetBootin.
- Select Diskimage.
- Select ISO from the dropdown.
- Click the ellipse button & browse to the ESXi ISO.
- By Type select USB Drive.
- By Drive select the letter for the USB thumb drive.
- Click OK.
- If you get a message saying E:\menu.c32 already exists click Yes to All.
- When it is finished click Exit.
- Insert the USB drive into the host & boot from USB.
- From the boot menu select the ESXi installation option & press Enter
- Finish the installation just like any other ESXi install
In VMware Workstation booting from a USB drive is not a built-in feature. However there is a handy boot manager program called Plop Boot Manager that will make this possible. You can grab it from this link.
Download the latest version & extract the ZIP file.
Now from the Virtual Machine Settings dialog box in the VM modify the settings of the CD/DVD to use the plpbt.iso file in the extracted folder. Boot the VM & you will see a screen that lets you pick USB as a boot option.