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:
    Note: You can also PXE boot the ESXi installer to run an interactive installation or a scripted installation. See Network 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 is 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. 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.


  1. Insert the ESXi installer CD/DVD into the CD/DVD-ROM drive, or attach the Installer USB flash drive and restart the machine.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
    Note: 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 you select a disk that 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.
    Important: If you are upgrading or migrating an existing ESXi installation, see the VMware ESXi Upgrade documentation.

    If you select a disk that is in vSAN disk group, the resulting installation depends on the type of disk and the group size:

    • If you select an SSD, the SSD and all underlying HDDs in the same disk group are wiped.
    • If you select an HDD, and the disk group size is greater than two, only the selected HDD is wiped.
    • If you select an HDD disk, and the disk group size is two or less, the SSD and the selected HDD is wiped.

    For more information about managing vSAN disk groups, see the vSphere Storage documentation.

  4. Select the keyboard type for the host.
    You can change the keyboard type after installation in the direct console.
  5. Enter the root password for the host.
    You can change the password after installation in the direct console.
  6. Press Enter to start the installation.
  7. When the installation is complete, remove the installation CD, DVD, or USB flash drive.
  8. Press Enter to reboot the host.
  9. Set the first boot device to be the drive on which you installed ESXi in 3.
    For information about changing boot order, see your hardware vendor documentation.
    Note: 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.

What to do next

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