Install ESX from a USB drive

Last week I was trying to repurpose an old Google Appliance for a development ESX server. Since the Google appliance was essentially a Dell PowerEdge 2950 it had dual 2.33 GHz Xeons, 16Gb memory and six 250Gb drives.

Unfortunately the system didn’t come with a CD drive so the next easiest installation was going to be from a USB thumb drive.

If you’re keen to install ESX from a USB thumb drive, you’ll need:

With those bits in hand, do the following.

  1. Format the USB drive with a FAT32 filesystem
  2. Use something like 7-Zip to extract the ISO to your USB thumb drive
  3. Download the latest syslinux ZIP file and extract it somewhere
  4. From the “syslinux\win” directory run
    syslinux.exe -s -m -f -a h: Where h: is the letter your USB thumb drive is assigned
  5. Rename the hidden file isolinux.cfg on your USB thumb drive to syslinux.cfg
  6. Safely Remove your USB thumb drive and install ESX


Leave a Reply