How to easily update your VMware Hypervisor to ESXi 6.5

Posted by Paul Braren on Nov 20 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 6.5 Release Notes ESXi 6.5 | 15 NOV 2016 | ISO Build 4564106

    Warning - vCenter/VCSA 6.x should be upgraded to 6.5 before upgrading your host(s) to ESXi 6.5!

    All the background story on how this easy ESXCLI upgrade method came about was covered in my earlier article:


    1. No new license needed to go from 6.0.x to 6.5!
    2. Users of the free hypervisor and folks who can't download the GA Offline bundle now have a path forward as well!


    Once you've completed ALL of the following preparation steps:

    1. upgraded to VCSA 6.5
    2. ensured your ESXi 6.0.x host has a working internet connection
    3. reviewed the release notes
    4. reviewed How to easily update your VMware Hypervisor to ESXi 6.0 Update 2 for the full back story that includes some warnings about potential gotchas/driver issues
    5. backed up the ESXi 6.0 you've already got, using something like one of the home-lab-friendly techniques such as using USB Image Tools, as detailed by Florian Grehl here

    you can now safely continue with this one-liner approach to upgrading your lab environment.

    Unsupported, at your own risk, see the full disclaimer at below left.

    I personally tested upgrading from 6.0U2 to 6.5 my first time with the GA code in the live and (obviously) unrehearsed video below.

    What's nice about this ESXCLI upgrade method is that its super simple and convenient, and you don't have to worry about logging in to My VMware and downloading your ESXi 6.5 ISO:

    Name: VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.5.0-4564106.x86_64.iso
    Release Date: 2016-11-15
    Build Number: 4564106


    Download and upgrade to 6.5 using the patch directly from the VMware Online Depot, entire process including reboot is usually well under 15 minutes

    1. Open an SSH session (eg. PuTTY) to your ESXi 6.0.x server
      (if you forgot to enable SSH, here's how)
    2. Turn on maintenance mode, or ensure you've set your ESXi host to automatically gracefully shutdown all VMs upon host reboot, or shutdown all the VMs gracefully that you care about, including VCSA.
    3. Paste the line below into into your SSH session, then hit enter, waiting somewhere around 3 to 10 minutes for it to finish up, depending mostly on the the speed of the ESXi's connection to the internet, and a little on the speed of the storage media that ESXi is installed on:
      esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard -d
    4. Optional - Depending upon your ESXi firewall configuration, if the above command results in a network related error, the first fix to try is this command:
      esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient

      then repeat step 3 above. More details about the firewall here, including a way to return to your prior state.

    5. If you turned on maintenance mode earlier, remember to turn maintenance mode off.
    6. Type reboot and hit return (to restart your ESXi server), or use your favorite ESXi UI to restart the host.
    7. After the reboot is done, it would be a good idea to test login using ESXi host client, pointing your browser to the IP or hostname of your just-graded server, 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 6.0U2 build 3620759 to 6.5 build 4564106 looked, right after the 3 minute download/patch.
    Yep, it worked! Screenshot from a different system that had an easy way for me to screenshot the DCUI.
    Click here twice to zoom in and see the entire ESXCLI session, as this patching process brought my system right from 6.0U2 to 6.5.

    That's it! When the reboot is complete, you'll see for yourself that you now have the latest ESXi, Build 4564106, 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 1 or 2 lines of code is pretty darn easy.

    Looking ahead, since VUM is now built into VCSA 6.5, this will add another way to do future upgrades and patches, even in a small home lab environment.

    Potential SATA and Realtek NIC gotchas

    If you find some of your SATA/AHCI datastores disappear from view after this upgrade, worry not, the VMFS datastores are still there, you just can't see them. This article should still save you:


    How to update your VMware server to ESXi 6.5 the easy way!]

    Original article snippet, as originally published on Nov 20 2016, appears as it was, below.

    Coming soon
    It's here, see above!
    The TinkerTry'd easy-upgrade method just isn't ready yet, see why at VMware Front Experience Blog's

    • VMware ESXi Patch Tracker

      The ESXi 6.5.0 GA Imageprofile is not yet available in the VMware Online Depot. Subscribe here now to get notified at release time!

    If VMware does decide to make ESXi 6.5 available up there in this same cloudy depot, it's likely you'll be using this simple one-liner, to get the job done:

    esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.5.0-20164564106-standard -d

    but currently, it errors out with this message:

     No image profile found with name 'ESXi-6.5.0-20164564106-standard'
             id = ESXi-6.5.0-20164564106-standard
     Please refer to the log file for more details.

    How about querying what bundles are available, just in case I got the bundle name wrong? See what pcrandom suggests:

    esxcli software sources profile list -d | grep -i ESXi-6

    Nope, no 6.5 versions listed there, at all. You can try for yourself, as this is just a harmless list command.

    What to do? How to upgrade to 6.5 right now? No problem, just read this article for the somewhat more involved ISO download/mount method:

    Nov 24 2016 Update

    The correct file now showed up on VMware's Respository, as seen in VMware ESXi Patch Tracker, which allowed me to get this all working, and make the edits to the article above.

    See also at TinkerTry

    VMware vSphere 6.5 taskbar shortcuts can make your Chrome browser UIs look like native Windows apps!

    See also