performing scripted installation of esxi by pxe booting the installer


Of course internet community is full of blogs on how to do ESXi4.1 scripted installation. Based on those materials I’m here to show how to integrate both ESXi4.1 and ESXi5.0 under same PXE server. Trust me very simple (No Big Deal), nothing too much different. All you need to know what is changed I ESXi5.0.


  1. WebServer – I prefer IIS
  2. TFTP Server – I Prefer SolarWinds
  3. PXE I prefer pxelinux.0
  4. DHCP Server – I Prefer Microsoft DHCP

A. WebServer Configurations:

1.Install IIS webserver using next next Smile.

2.Configure MIME Type as shown below


3. Create folders ESXi and ESXi5 under C:\Inetpub\wwwroot


4. Extract ESXi 5.0 ISO here as shown here  and 4.1U1 as shown below


B. TFTP Server Configuration

Download free TFTP server from SolarWinds

Installation is pretty straight forward. SolarWinds all products are very simple to install and configure. I love their syslog server and had blog about it in the past here

Once installed, there is no configuration needed, just ensure you PXE directory defined as per your requirement C:\PXE (where all files for PXE booting will reside)


Under PXEboot folder create folder structure shown below


Download pxelinux.0 from and copy it in C:\PXEboot directory as shown below also copy menu.c32. This file helps us boot the server, no modification is needed in this file. Just copy it there.


Open pxelinux.cfg folder and create a file without extension as default, as shown below


Open default file in wordpad(not notepad) and copy below text into it.Changes highlighted in yellow below

DEFAULT menu.c32
MENU TITLE ESXi Installation
LABEL install
  MENU LABEL ESXi5 ^Installer
  KERNEL ESXi5/mboot.c32
  APPEND -c ESXi5/boot.cfg

label ESXi4.1U1 Installer
menu label ^ESXi4.1U1 Installer
kernel ESXi/mboot.c32
append ESXi/vmkboot.gz ks= — ESXi/vmkernel.gz — ESXi/sys.vgz — ESXi/cim.vgz — ESXi/ienviron.vgz — ESXi/install.vgz


LABEL hddboot
  MENU LABEL ^Boot from local disk

Copy following 8 files in to C:\PXEboot\ESXi shown below. These files are copied from C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ESXi, these files are needed only for ESXi4.1U1 installation and should be copied in ESXi folder only

Only for ESXi4.1

Similar copy all files from C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ESXi5 to C:\PXEboot\ESXi5 as shown below.

Only for ESXi5.0

Only for ESXi5.0 you have to edit boot.cfg file in C:\PXEboot\ESXi5 and that also only one line you need to modify (just to capture screen capture I have opened this file in notepad)

boot.cfg to edit only for ESXi5.0

C. DHCP Server – Configuration

Define the scope in DHCP as per your requirements

Add following two options to DHCP server and done


All done and now time to test Thumbs up



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