Turn your laptop into an ESXi 5.0 host

1. Run VMware Workstation, VMware player, or virtual box
2. Create a new vm and boot to the ESXi 5.0 cd
3. Make sure you pass the usb port to the VM
4. Install to the USB drive
5. When you are asked to reboot, turn off the VM and reboot your workstation
6. Get into your bios and put “boot from usb” high on the boot order
7. After you boot, you may have to reconfigure your management network settings.
8. Hop on another system and connect to your laptop using the vSphere client.

UPDATE: After the install, it will ask you to reboot. Make sure you reboot once and then shutdown otherwise no settings will be permanent. It’s really frustrating. 🙂 After the install I moved this USB to a proliant server I have and it worked flawlessly… ahem… the second time.

ESXi on Toshiba


6 thoughts on “Turn your laptop into an ESXi 5.0 host

  1. did this disturbed to the existing OS/HD in the laptop. I mean, if i remove the USB, i still can use the laptopn HD and boot the OS which was on the laptop.

    Thank you,
    Indika Peiris

  2. OK, what am I doing wrong? I installed successfully using workstation but when I try to reboot my workstation and load fromt he USB, it just bypasses the USB. Am I missing the point of this article? You are saying once it is installed using workstation, I can remove that USB and go to a different computer/server and boot it up, correct? Is it hardware dependent? Meaning, will it only run on certain hardware?

    1. You need to set boot from usb in your bios. Yes ESXi is hardware dependent and I was lucky that my laptop complied with the HCL. I was able to boot from usb on my laptop and my HP DL140 G3. What computer are you turning into an ESXi host?

      I had one problem where I’d lose nic settings whenever I rebooted. That was fixed by reinstalling ESXi and rebooting when it told me to instead of shutting down.

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