Before the ESX installer Welcome screen appears, the installer displays a boot prompt where you can enter bootstrap commands to pass arguments to the installer.

When the mode selection screen appears, quickly type F2 to stop the timeout counter. If the mode selection screen times out, the default graphical mode is launched.

The supported bootstrap commands and subcommands are listed in Bootstrap Commands for ESX Installation.

Bootstrap Commands for ESX Installation

Command

Description

askmedia

Allows you to interactively select the location of the ESX installation media. This option is required if the image is hosted at an HTTP, FTP, or NFS location.

BOOTIF

Accepts the format for the boot network adapter as supplied by PXELINUX.

gateway=<ip address>

Sets this network gateway as the default gateway during the install.

ip=<ip address>

Specifies a static IP address to be used for downloading the script and the installation media.

The IPAPPEND option is also supported if you PXE boot the installer.

ks=cdrom:/<path>

Performs a scripted installation with the script at <path>, which resides on the DVD in the DVD-ROM drive.

ks=file://<path>

Performs a scripted installation with the script at <path>, which resides inside the initial ramdisk image.

ks=ftp://<server>/<path>/

Performs a scripted installation with a script located at the given URL.

ks=http://<server>/<path>

Performs a scripted installation with a script located at the given URL.

ks=https://<server>/<path>

Performs a scripted installation with a script located at the given URL.

ks=nfs://<server>/<path>

Performs a scripted installation with the script located at <path> on a given NFS server.

ks=usb

Performs a scripted installation with the ks.cfg script in the root directory of the USB flash drive attached to the host. If multiple flash drives are attached, the installer cycles through each one, mounting and unmounting them until the file named ks.cfg is found.

ks=UUID:<partition-UUID>:/<path>

Performs a scripted installation with a script located on the ext partition with the given UUID.

ksdevice=<device>

Same as netdevice

mediacheck

Checks the MD5 sum of the DVD media to make sure the information is not corrupt. The media check operation adds several minutes to the installation process.

mem= (required)

Reserves a minimum amount of memory for the ESX service console. The value must be at least 512M.

nameserver=<ip address>

Specifies a domain name server as the nameserver during the install.

netdevice=<device>

Tries to use a network adapter <device> when looking for an installation script and installation media. Specify as a MAC address (for example, 00:50:56:C0:00:01). If not specified and files need to be retrieved over the network, the installer defaults to the first discovered network adapter.

The IPAPPEND option is also supported if you PXE boot the installer.

netmask=<subnet mask>

Specifies subnet mask for the network interface that downloads the installation media.

noapic

Flags the kernel to use the XTPIC instead of the APIC.

text

Starts the ESX installer in text mode.

url=<url>

Looks for the installation media at the specified URL. When you are PXE booting the installer, the url= command only works with earlier versions of SYSLINUX. The command does not work with SYSLINUX/PXELINUX version 3.70 and higher.

vlanid=<vlanid>

Configures the VLAN for the network card.