Use the text interface if your video controller does not function properly when you use graphical mode.


Choose a method for booting the installer.

Boot from the DVD using the local DVD-ROM drive.

PXE boot the installer.


Select Install ESX in text mode.


(Optional) Press F2 and type boot options for the installer.

A series of installation messages scroll past until the Welcome page appears.


Enter 1 to continue.


Select a keyboard model.

To accept the default US English, enter 1.

To configure the keyboard, enter 2 and enter the number that corresponds to your keyboard model.


Enter accept to accept the VMware license agreement.

You cannot install this product unless you accept the license agreement.


Select whether to install custom drivers with the ESX installation.

You might need custom drivers if your system is not listed in the Hardware Compatibility Guide and has a network or storage device that was not originally compatible with ESX 4.1.

If you PXE booted the ESX installer, you cannot install custom drivers during the installation process. You can install them after the ESX installation is complete.

Enter 1 to install custom drivers with the ESX installation. If you enter 1, the installer prompts you to insert the media containing the custom drivers. After you add the custom drivers, the installer prompts you to reinsert the ESX installation DVD and continue with the installation.

Enter 2 if you do not need to install custom drivers.

You can install custom drivers after the ESX installation is complete, using other command-line and GUI tools available to you, such as the vSphere CLI and vCenter Update Manager.


Enter 1 to load the ESX drivers and continue.


Configure ESX licensing.

Enter 1 to enter the vSphere license key now.

Enter 2 to evaluate ESX and enter a vSphere license key later using the vSphere Client.


Select the network adapter for the ESX service console. Virtual machine network traffic shares this network adapter until you configure a virtual switch for another network adapter. You can configure network adapters later from the vSphere Client.



Accept the Default Network Adapter and Leave the VLAN ID Unassigned

Enter 1.

Select a Network Adapter and Assign a VLAN ID


Enter 2.


Enter a number that corresponds to a network adapter.


Optionally, enter 1 to assign a VLAN ID. Otherwise, enter 2.


Enter a VLAN ID number between 0 and 4095.


Configure the network settings. VMware recommends that you use a static IP address to simplify client access. If you want to use static settings but you do not have the required information, you can use DHCP for the installation and configure static settings after you consult with your network administrator.

Enter 1 to keep the automatic DHCP settings.

Enter 2 to configure the IP settings. For the host name, type the complete host name including the domain.


Select the location of the ESX installation ISO image.

These options appear if you entered the askmedia bootstrap command at the mode selection screen.

Enter 1 to specify DVD or USB media. You can select a DVD-ROM drive other than the one you might be using to boot the installer.

Enter 2 to specify a network file system (NFS) server and a directory path.

Enter 3 to specify an HTTP or HTTPS URL.

Enter 4 to specify an FTP URL.


Select a setup option.

Enter 1 for a basic setup that configures the default partitions on a single hard drive or LUN. The default partitions are sized based on the capacity of the hard drive or LUN.

Enter 2 for an advanced setup that allows you to specify esxconsole.vmdk partition settings, kernel options, and a bootloader location and password.


Select a location to install ESX.

The installer erases all content on the selected storage device. Installing ESX on a USB device is not supported.


(Optional) Configure a location for the VMFS datastore partition for the service console.

Enter 1 to create a new datastore. For the datastore location, enter 1 to select the same disk as ESX, or enter 2 to select another disk.

If you select another disk for the VMFS partition, the ESX disk will contain only the /boot and vmkcore partitions, with the remainder of the disk unpartitioned. The VMFS disk will be formatted as a single partition that spans the entire disk.

You can create additional partitions post-install, using the vSphere Client.

Enter 2 to select an existing datastore available to the host.

VMFS2 volumes are not recognized by ESX 4.1.

The service console must be installed on a VMFS datastore that is resident on a host's local disk or on a SAN disk that is masked and zoned to that particular host only. The datastore cannot be shared between hosts.


(Optional) Name the VMFS datastore.

Enter 1 to keep the default name, datastore1.

Enter 2 to change the name.


(Optional) Change the partition layout of the service console.

Enter 1 to keep the default partition layout. You can configure partitions later using the vSphere Client.

Enter 2 to create, edit, and delete partitions.


(Optional) Enter 1 to specify kernel arguments for the GRUB bootloader. To skip this option, enter 2. The software writes the arguments to the grub.conf file and passes them to the ESX kernel every time ESX boots.


(Optional) Enter 1 to specify a bootloader password. It can be up to 30 characters. To skip this option, enter 2.


Enter 1 to keep the default timezone. Enter 2 to configure the timezone.


Configure the date and time settings.

Enter 1 to specify an NTP server.

Enter 2 to configure the date and time manually. This option allows you to use the machine date and time detected by the installer or set the date and time yourself.


Enter a root password. It must contain between 6 and 64 characters.


Enter 1 to confirm your installation configuration.

If an installation error occurs at this point, the ISO image might be invalid or there might be something wrong with the DVD media. To troubleshoot, try the ISO download process again, make sure the DVD is in working order, and make sure the DVD drive and DVD media type are compatible. When you retry the installation, perform the media check operation. Alternatively, use another media access option, such as HTTP.


Enter 1 to exit the installer and reboot the host.


During reboot, press the key required to enter your machine’s BIOS setup or boot menu.

This key is often a function key or Delete.


Set the first boot device to be the drive on which you installed ESX.

After installation, an esxconsole-<system-uuid>/esxconsole.vmdk file is created in a VMFS volume. The /, swap, /var/log, and any of the optional partitions are stored in the esxconsole.vmdk file.

After you install ESX and reboot the host, you can log in to the service console to read the installation log at /var/log/esx_install.log.


In previous releases of ESX, if the system did not boot up after installation, one troubleshooting approach was to mount the partitions for debugging. For ESX 4.1, mounting the partitions would not be helpful in resolving the issue. If after installation the system does not boot up, the most likely cause is that the BIOS is configured to boot from the wrong disk.