Normally I would install ESXi by burning the ISO to CD and install via CD, however I came across a server the other day that did not have a built-in CD drive, and no external USB CD drive was available.
Run the ESXi installer from a USB pen!
- USB Pen (at least 500mb in capacity).
- ESXi 4.0 ISO.
- SYSLINX Boot Loader (v3.86 worked for me).
In this example, USB pen drive letter is G:
- Insert and format the USB pen using FAT32.
- Download the following SYSLINX: http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/3.xx/syslinux-3.86.zip
- Extract the ZIP file.
- Open a command prompt window (right-click and Run As Admin).
- Navigate to the location of the extracted zip file EG cd c:\syslinux-3.86
- Navigate to the WIN32 folder: cd win32
- Type: syslinux -fma G:
- Once complete, extract the contents of the ESXi ISO file to the USB pen.
- Rename the following two file: isolinux.bin to syslinux.bin and isolinux.cfg to syslinux.cfg.
- Eject the USB pen and insert into the server.
- Boot from USB on the server and install ESXi.
The following websites were referenced: