With ESXi Image Builder, you can customize an ESXi image profile, but not combine content from different depots to generate an ISO image. Starting with VMware PowerCLI 12.0, you can customize ISO images by using content from multiple software depots and a custom software specification.

For upgrades to ESXi 7.0 and later, the New-IsoImage cmdlet preserves additional metadata for ESXi 7.0.x required by the vSphere Lifecycle Manager, such as base image, addon and component. This additional metadata is not part of ISO images that you can export by using the legacy ESXi Image Builder cmdlets.


Install VMware PowerCLI 12.0 or later.

Verify that you have access to the software depot that contains the software specification that you want to use.


  1. Gather the required information for the software specification that you use to create a custom ISO image.
    1. Get the base image version for the required patch or upgrade by running the Get-DepotBaseImages cmdlet:
      PS C:\> Get-DepotBaseImages -Depot C:\VMware-ESXi-7.0U2a-17867351-depot.zip
      The command output is:
      Version                                 Vendor                                  Release date
      -------                                 ------                                  ------------
      7.0.2-0.0.17867351                      VMware, Inc.                            04/29/2021 00:00:00
    2. Get other packages, such as OEM addons, with cmdlets used with new metadata in software depots. For example:
      PS C:\> Get-DepotAddons -Depot C:\addon-depot.zip
    The command output is:
    Name                    Version                 ID                      Vendor                  Release date
    ----                    -------                 --                      ------                  ------------
    testaddonv1             1.0.0-1                 testaddonv1:1.0.0-1     ESXLifecycle QE         02/20/2019 18:28:23
    You can also list all components in a sofware depot with the Get-DepotComponents cmdlet:
    PS C:\> Get-DepotComponents -Depot C:\Intel-i40en_1.12.3.0-1OEM.700.1.0.15843807_18058526.zip
    The command output is:
    Name                             Version                          ID                                               Vendor
    ----                             -------                          --                                              ------
    Intel-i40en               Intel-i40en:     Intel
    You can use any number and combination of online and offline software depots.
  2. Create a software specification. For example:
        "base_image": {
            "version": "7.0.2-0.0.17867351"
        "add_on": {
            "name": "testaddonv1",
            "version": "1.0.0-1"
        "components": {
           "Intel-i40en": ""
    The software specification is a JSON file that contains information about the ESXi base image and additional packages, such as a vendor add-on.
  3. Generate a custom ISO image by running the New-IsoImage cmdlet with the parameters Depots,SoftwareSpec and Destination. For example:
    New-IsoImage -Depots “c:\temp\VMware-ESXi-7.0U1d-17551050-depot.zip” , “c:\temp\HPE-701.” -SoftwareSpec “c:\temp\HPE-70U1d-custom.JSON” -Destination “c:\temp\HPE-70U1d-custom.iso”
    The depot(s) include the path to the zip files for the supported ESXi version and vendor add-on. The destination include the path and file name for the custom ISO file.
    You can pass additional kernel options, create a live image, overwrite existing files, or check acceptance levels for individual VIBs used during the creation of the image. For more information about the New-IsoImage cmdlet, see https://code.vmware.com/docs/11794/cmdletreference/doc/New-IsoImage.html.

What to do next

You can import the new ISO image to the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot, so that you can create upgrade baselines, which you use for host upgrade operations.