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Install ESXi 5.x from a bootable USB drive

  1. Download the ESXi ISO.
  2. Download UNetbootin.
  3. Insert a blank USB thumb drive & format it using FAT32.
  4. Run UNetBootin.
  5. Select Diskimage.
  6. Select ISO from the dropdown.
  7. Click the ellipse button & browse to the ESXi ISO.
  8. By Type select USB Drive.
  9. By Drive select the letter for the USB thumb drive.
  10. Click OK.

UNetbootin

  1. If you get a message saying E:\menu.c32 already exists click Yes to All.

overwrite

  1. When it is finished click Exit.

finished

  1. Insert the USB drive into the host & boot from USB.
  2. From the boot menu select the ESXi installation option & press Enter

bootmenu

  1. Finish the installation just like any other ESXi install

Boot from USB drive in VMware Workstation

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.

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