You can use a physical drive on a client or host or you can use an ISO image to add a CD/DVD drive to a virtual machine. CD/DVD drives are necessary for installing a guest operating system and VMware Tools.

The following conditions exist:
  • If you add a CD/DVD drive that is backed by a USB CD/DVD drive on the host, you must add the drive as a SCSI device. Hot adding and removing SCSI devices is not supported.
  • You must disconnect virtual machines that have CD drives that are backed by the physical CD drive on the host, before you migrate the virtual machine.
  • You access the host CD-ROM device through emulation mode. Passthrough mode is not functional for local host CD-ROM access. You can write or burn a remote CD only through passthrough mode access, but in emulation mode you can only read a CD-ROM from a host CD-ROM device.


  • Verify that the virtual machine is turned off.
  • To connect to a client device, verify that Client Integration Plug-in is installed.
  • If an ISO image file is not available on a local or shared datastore, upload an ISO image to a datastore from your local system by using the datastore file browser. See Upload ISO Image Installation Media for a Guest Operating System.
  • Verify that you have the Virtual machine.Configuration.Add or remove device privilege on the virtual machine.


  1. Right-click a virtual machine in the inventory and select Edit Settings.
  2. From the New device drop-down menu, select CD/DVD Drive and click Add .
    The new drive appears at the bottom of the Virtual Hardware list.
  3. Expand New CD/DVD Drive and select the device type.
    Option Action
    Client Device
    1. Select to connect the CD/DVD device to a physical DVD or CD device on the system from which you access the vSphere Web Client.
    2. From the Device Mode drop-down menu, select Passthrough IDE.
    Host Device
    1. Select to connect the CD/DVD device to a physical DVD or CD device on the host.
    2. From the CD/DVD Media drop-down menu, select the media to connect to .
    3. From the Device Mode drop-down menu, select Emulate IDE.
    Datastore ISO File
    1. Select to connect the CD/DVD device to an ISO file that is stored on a datastore accessible to the host.
    2. Browse to the file containing the ISO image to connect to and click OK.
    When you turn on the virtual machine, you select the media to connect to from the VM Hardware panel on the virtual machine Summary tab.
  4. (Optional) Select Connect At Power On to connect the device when the virtual machine turns on.
  5. (Optional) To change the device node from the default, select a new mode from the Virtual Device Node drop-down menu.
  6. Click OK.

What to do next

Turn on the virtual machine, select the media to connect to, and install the guest operating system or other applications.