How to easily update your VMware Hypervisor to ESXi 6.0 Update 2

Posted by Paul Braren on Mar 16 2016 (updated on Mar 31 2018) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • HowTo
  • HomeLab
  • Important Update - On Mar 20 2018, VMware VMSA-2018-0004.3 announced that CVE-2017-5715 (Spectre-2) mitigation is now included in the latest patch that you should be using instead of the older patch featured in the original article below. You'll find the newer article that features an even easier update method here:

    Article below as it originally appeared.

    VMware ESXi 6.0 Update 2 Release Notes ESXi 6.0 Update 2 | 15 MAR 2016 | ISO Build 3620759,
    if you just want to see the super easy update via CLI steps, jump below.


    Embedded Host Client

    Embedded Host Client, baked right into ESXi 6.0U2!

    Guess what, ESXi Embedded Host Client is included with 6.0U2! A good excuse to upgrade, once the upgrade is done and the host rebooted, just point your browser to:
    This is a big deal, the arrival of a HTML5 UI baked right into the ESXi Hypervisor. It's just a start, marking the start of an Adobe Flash-free future, and a way to slickly manage even the free Hypervisor found in many home labs.

    Free or EVALExperience Users generally get 60 day old downloads

    If you don't have a commercial VMware license, and instead are using a trial, free, or EVALExperience ESXi 6.0 or ESXi 6.0 Update 1/1a/1b, you won't be able to easily download the 6.0 Update 2 ISO directly. You're not entitled. Silly, I know. Worry not though, since this article has you covered. Takes about 10 minutes total. Basically you paste two commands, wait for the automated download and patch process, then finish up with a host reboot.

    Important Note - update your VCSA before your ESXi!

    FYI, you are supposed to update your vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) before you update your ESXi hosts, for the reasons VMware explains here, and William Lam here. Here's the easy (published Jan 12 2016) way to do it, detailed at TinkerTry:

    The command syntax for updating ESXi 6.0 was easily figured out, thanks to prior work by Andreas Peetz and William Lam!

    Before you begin, you'll first need to carefully review William Lam's warning:

    Disclaimer: This method assumes you can install the default ESXi Image Profile with no additional drivers or packages, else you may have connectivity issue after the upgrade. If you still need to customize the ESXi Image Profile before installation, you will still need to use something like Image Builder and then upload that to your online depot.

    ...and Andreas Peetz warning:

    Important note: Before doing this please check whether you rely on one of the NIC drivers (e.g. Realtek) that were blacklisted in ESXi 6.0. You then need to carry out an additional step before doing the upgrade - see my earlier post (section 2) for details.

    For my SuperServer Workstation, I didn't have to worry about VIBs: the stock drivers built into 6.0 are all I need to succeed. Even if I do need AHCI or NVMe VIBs in the future, I can just re-add such VIBs after similar future upgrades, or even inject them into a custom ISO.

    What's convenient about the below method is that you don't have to worry about separately downloading the ESXi ISO:

    Name: VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.0.0.update02-3620759.x86_64.iso
    Release Date: 2016-03-15
    Build Number: 3620759

    Download and apply the 6.0 Update 2 patch directly from the VMware Online Depot

    1. Open an SSH session (PuTTY) to your ESXi 6.0 (or ESXi 6.0 Update 1) server
      (if you forgot to enable SSH, here's how)
    2. Put your system into maintenance mode, or ensure you've set your ESXi host to automatically gracefully shutdown all VMs upon host reboot
    3. Paste the 1st line below into into your SSH session, then hit enter. Repeat for the 2nd line, waiting somewhere around 1 to 10 minutes for it to finish up, depending partly on the speed of the ESXi's connection to the internet, and the speed of the storage media that ESXi is installed on:
      esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
      esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.0.0-20160302001-standard -d
    4. This 3rd line below is optional, use it if you wish to return the firewall status to how it was before you began this procedure, paste:
      esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
    5. If you turned on maintenance mode earlier, remember to turn it back off now.

    6. Type "reboot" and hit return (to restart your ESXi server).

    7. Download and install VMware vSphere Client 6.0 Update 2. If you have a prior 6.x version on your Windows system that's doing vSphere administration, this installer will automatically your existing 6.x install to Build 3620759. Download VMware vSphere Client 6.0 Update 2 here:

    8. After the reboot is done, it would be a good idea to test login using both the vSphere Client and the vSphere Web Client, to be sure everthing seems to be working right.

    You're done!

    Special thanks to VMware ESXi Patch Tracker by Andreas Peetz at the VMware Front Experience Blog.

    Here's how my upgrade from build 3380124 to 3620759 looked, right after the 3 minute download/patch.
    Yep, it worked!

    That's it! When the reboot is complete, you'll see for yourself that you now have the latest ESXi, Build 3620759, as pictured above. Now you have more spare time to read more TinkerTry articles!

    By the way, you could use VMware Update Manager on a Windows system or VM, but for one-off upgrades typical in a small home lab, pasting these 2 lines of code is pretty easy.

    Video (same technique, slightly older upgrade)

    How to update your VMware server to ESXi 6.0 Update 1b the easy way! [This is the same technique used for Update 2, only one line of what you paste into PuTTY differs.]

    Rich Hardware Health Status baked right in for new Xeon D-1500

    Supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T

    My home lab's Supermicro SuperServer is working quite nicely with 6.0U2, as one would expect from a system on the VMware HCL.

    Sep 19 2016 Update

    A helpful TinkerTry visitor named Peter French has documented the syntax for the latest ESXi 6 patch released on August 17 2016, found here:

    Here's the exact syntax:

    esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.0.0-20160804001-standard -d

    Mar 11 2017 Update

    I've received interest from Kumar in his comment below, wondering if this same easy upgrade technique works for ESXi 6.0 Update 3. I believe this is exactly what's needed to get such an upgrade done:

    esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.0.0-20170202001-standard -d

    If it turns out to work fine, I should also create another separate article just about this ESXi 6.0U3 easy update.

    See also at TinkerTry

    See also