You can install a guest operating system from a CD-ROM or from an ISO image. Installing from an ISO image is typically faster and more convenient than a CD-ROM installation.

If the virtual machine’s boot sequence progresses too quickly for you to open a console to the virtual machine and enter BIOS or EFI setup, you might need to delay the boot order. See the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration documentation.

Verify that the installation ISO image is present on a VMFS datastore or network file system (NFS) volume accessible to the ESXi host.

Verify that you have the installation instructions that the operating system vendor provides.


Open the vSphere Client and log in to the vCenter Server system or host on which the virtual machine resides.


Select an installation method.




Insert the installation CD-ROM for your guest operating system into the CD-ROM drive of your ESXi host.

ISO image


Right-click the virtual machine in the inventory list and select Edit Settings.


Click the Hardware tab and select CD/DVD Drive.


In the Device Type panel, select Datastore ISO File and browse for the ISO image for your guest operating system.


Right-click the virtual machine and select Power > Power On.

A green right arrow appears next to the virtual machine icon in the inventory list.


Follow the installation instructions that the operating system vendor provides.

Install VMware Tools. Installing VMware Tools in the guest operating system is important. Although the guest operating system can run without VMware Tools, you lose important functionality and convenience without them. See the Installing and Configuring VMware Tools documentation.