VMware – Installing ESXi 3.5 Update 4 via PXE

VMware – Installing ESXi 3.5 Update 4 via PXE


This article explains how to install VMware ESXi 3.5 Update 4 over the network using PXE.

The infrastructure used for this article is a Centos 5.3 server with Tftp installed to provide the PXE server and a DD-WRT router running as the DHCP server with PXE options configured through DNSMasq.

Installation instructions for the Centos Tftp server and DD-WRT route are outside the scope of the article.


In order to install VMware ESXi 3.5 via PXE the following pre-requisites must be met :-

  • A copy of the  VMware ESXi 3.5 Update 4 installation ISO
  • A DHCP server configured to provide the relevant PXE options
  • A Tftp server to provide the installation media
  • Copying the installation files to your PXE server

Once you’ve got the installation ISO mount the image and copy the contents to your PXE Server directory (On Centos /var/lib/tftpboot folder).  The following files should now be in your PXE Server directory :-


Modify the PXE Configuration file

Once the files have been copied to the PXE Server directory edit the PXE configuration file (On Centos /var/lib/tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg) and add the following lines :-

label Install ESX3.5i Update 4
kernel mboot.c32
append vmkernel.gz — binmod.tgz — ienviron.tgz — cim.tgz — oem.tgz — license.tgz — install.tgz

Test the implementation

Once the steps above have been performed test the installation by network booting the target machine and the VMware ESXi 3.5 installation should start.