Create a vmware esxi 4 bootable disk using linux

This is pretty straight forward, but why not put in in a post anyway.

You go to the vmware site and download the latest vmware esxi build. Download it somewhere in your home drive. After downloading perform following tasks:

Become root (su – or sudo -s)

mount the iso file. I made a dir /media/isoimage to mount it to:

mkdir /media/isomage/
mount -o loop -t iso9660 ./VMware-VMvisor-Installer-4.0.0-171294.x86_64.iso /media/isoimage/

I made a dir in my root folder to work in, copy the image.tgz file to there.

cd /media/isoimage/
mkdir /root/vmware-esxi-stuff
cp image.tgz /root/vmware-esxi-stuff/

Extract the image file

tar xzpfv image.tgz

Extract the actual file you need

bunzip2 VMware-VMvisor-big-171294-x86_64.dd.bz2

Now connect your usbdisk to your linux computer, make sure you know how it gets connected. I always tail my log files to make sure.

tail -f /var/log/messages

When you connect your usbdisk you will see a lot of entries passing by. You will see something like

Aug 23 12:43:06 bjornmonnens-desktop kernel: [1134680.672567] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdc] 7818240 512-byte hardware sectors: (4.00 GB/3.72 GiB)

So now you know it is on sdc. Make sure there aren’t any partitions on there or delete everything using fdisk (this might not be necessary, but I did it anyway)

fdisk /dev/sdc
Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sdc: 4002 MB, 4002938880 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 3817 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x49e2fd2f

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdc1 5 900 917504 5 Extended
/dev/sdc4 * 1 4 4080 4 FAT16 <32M
/dev/sdc5 5 254 255984 6 FAT16
/dev/sdc6 255 504 255984 6 FAT16

Delete all and write to disk

Command (m for help): d
Partition number (1-8): 1

Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
Syncing disks.

Ok now everything should be empty, so go ahead and write your dd image to the usbdisk using the following command.

dd if=VMware-VMvisor-big-171294-x86_64.dd of=/dev/sdc

Ok it’s pretty easy, but it might help somebody. And for you windows guys us a bootable linux cd and perform these task instead of installing all kinds of rubbish on your computer.

2 Replies to “Create a vmware esxi 4 bootable disk using linux”

  1. I’m trying to figure out how to make a bootable installation CD for vmware. I have the ISO files downloaded and I tried to make a bootable CDS with Nero but this failed.

    I have a linux box too.

    Your instructions above are good but can I clarify a couple of things?

    Are your instructions for creating a bootable USB flash memory stick?

    Would your instructions work with a CD?

    If not, do you know how to create a bootable CD from the Vmware install media?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Hey,

    Are your instructions for creating a bootable USB flash memory stick?
    Yes the /dev/sdc is a usb disk

    Would your instructions work with a CD?
    Probably but I haven’t checked. I’m actually not sure if this is possible. I do think vmware writes stuff on the usb disk (e.g. the stores that are available, configs,…)


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