CD/DVD drives are necessary for installing a guest operating system and VMware Tools. 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.

When you power on the virtual machine, you can select the media to connect to from the VM Hardware panel on the virtual machine Summary tab.

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.
  • 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 powered off.
  • 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. Select your task.
    Option Description
    Add a CD/DVD drive On the Virtual Hardware tab, click the Add New Device button and select CD/DVD Drive.
    Modify CD/DVD settings On the Virtual Hardware tab, expand CD/DVD drive and change the configuration settings.
  3. To change CD/DVD settings, select the device type from the CD/DVD drive drop-down menu.
    Option Action
    Client Device Select this option to connect the CD/DVD device to a physical DVD or CD device on the system from which you access the vSphere Client.

    From the Device Mode drop-down menu, select Passthrough CD-ROM.

    Datastore ISO File Select this option to connect the CD/DVD device to an ISO file that is stored on a datastore accessible to the host.

    The Select File dialog box opens.

    1. In the Select File dialog box, browse to the file containing the ISO image to connect to.
    2. Click OK.
    Content Library ISO File Select this option to connect the CD/DVD device to an ISO file that is stored in a content library.

    The Choose an ISO image to mount dialog box opens

    1. In the Choose an ISO image to mount, select the ISO image to connect to.
    2. Click OK.
  4. (Optional) Specify additional settings for the CD/DVD drive.
    Option Description
    Connect At Power On Select this option to connect to the device when the virtual machine turns on.
    Device Mode Select Passthrough CD-ROM for a CD/DVD drive that is connected to the physical client machine. Select Emulate CD-ROM otherwise.
    Virtual Device Node Specify the location of the ISO that you are mounting.

    To change the device node from the default, select a new mode from the Virtual Device Node drop-down menu.

  5. Power on the virtual machine and click the Summary tab.
  6. Expand the VM Hardware panel and click Connected next to select to.

What to do next

You can now install the guest operating system or other applications.