You use the ESXi CD/DVD or a USB flash drive to install the ESXi software onto a SAS, SATA, SCSI hard drive, or USB drive.

You must have the ESXi installer ISO in one of the following locations:

On CD or DVD. If you do not have the installation CD/DVD, you can create one. See Download and Burn the ESXi Installer ISO Image to a CD or DVD

On a USB flash drive. See Format a USB Flash Drive to Boot the ESXi Installation or Upgrade.


You can also PXE boot the ESXi installer to launch an interactive installation or a scripted installation. See PXE Booting the ESXi Installer.

Verify that the server hardware clock is set to UTC. This setting is in the system BIOS.

Verify that a keyboard and monitor are attached to the machine on which the ESXi software will be installed. Alternatively, use a remote management application. See Using Remote Management Applications.

Consider disconnecting your network storage. This action decreases the time it takes the installer to search for available disk drives. Note that when you disconnect network storage, any files on the disconnected disks are unavailable at installation.

Do not disconnect a LUN that contains an existing ESX or ESXi installation. Do not disconnect a VMFS datastore that contains the Service Console of an existing ESX installation. These actions can affect the outcome of the installation.

Gather the information required by the ESXi installation wizard. See Required Information for ESXi Installation.

Verify that ESXi Embedded is not present on the host machine. ESXi Installable and ESXi Embedded cannot exist on the same host.


Insert the ESXi installer CD/DVD into the CD/DVD-ROM drive, or attach the Installer USB flash drive and restart the machine.


Set the BIOS to boot from the CD-ROM device or the USB flash drive.

See your hardware vendor documentation for information on changing boot order.


On the Select a Disk page, select the drive on which to install ESXi and press Enter.

Press F1 for information about the selected disk.


Do not rely on the disk order in the list to select a disk. The disk order is determined by the BIOS and might be out of order. This might occur on systems where drives are continuously being added and removed.

If the disk you selected contains data, the Confirm Disk Selection page appears.

If you are installing on a disc with a previous ESXi or ESX installation or VMFS datastore, the installer provides several choices.


If you are upgrading or migrating an existing ESX/ESXi installation, see the vSphere Upgrade documentation. The instructions in this vSphere Installation and Setup documentation are for a fresh installation of ESXi.


Select the keyboard type for the host.

You can change the keyboard type after installation in the direct console.


Enter the root password for the host.

You can leave the password blank, but to secure the system from the first boot, enter a password. You can change the password after installation in the direct console.


Press Enter to start the installation.


When the installation is complete, remove the installation CD, DVD, or USB flash drive.


Press Enter to reboot the host.

If you are performing a new installation, or you chose to overwrite an existing VMFS datastore, during the reboot operation, VFAT scratch and VMFS partitions are created on the host disk.


Set the first boot device to be the drive on which you installed ESXi in Step 3.

For information about changing boot order, see your hardware vendor documentation.


UEFI systems might require additional steps to set the boot device. See Host Fails to Boot After You Install ESXi in UEFI Mode

After the installation is complete, you can migrate existing VMFS data to the ESXi host.

You can boot a single machine from each ESXi image. Booting multiple devices from a single shared ESXi image is not supported.

Set up basic administration and network configuration for ESXi. See After You Install and Set Up ESXi.