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 Delay the Boot Sequence in the vSphere Web Client.


  • 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.


  1. Log in to the vCenter Server system or host on which the virtual machine resides.
  2. 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

    1. Right-click the virtual machine and select Edit Settings. The virtual machine Edit Settings dialog box opens. If the Virtual Hardware tab is not preselected, select it.

    2. Select Datastore ISO File from the CD/DVD drop-down menu, and browse for the ISO image for your guest operating system.

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

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

  4. Follow the installation instructions that the operating system vendor provides.

What to do next

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 Upgrading Virtual Machines for instructions on installing and upgrading VMware Tools.