How to install ESXi 5.1 on a flash drive then configure and run VMs, like Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012

Posted by Paul Braren on Aug 27 2012 in
  • ESXi
  • HowTo
  • Windows
  • Virtualization
  • vSphere-Client-5-1

    Yes, vSphere 5.1 / ESXi 5.1 has been announced. I was actually at the VMworld keynote in person to hear the news, earlier this morning. See also:

    Also noteworthy that vCache was announced at the keynote as well.

    You may also notice that my Windows 8 system, running the new vSphere Client 5.1, I no longer has the pesky "The VMRC console has disconnected" error when using the vSphere Client to open a Console.

    Using  ESXi 5.1 Build 799731, I step-by-step walk you through the process of installing and configuring the free hypervisor (which can later be licensed to enable features, trial or purchased). I give you a pretty goo dloock at some of the new enhancements/features. And soon, I plan to revisit:

    • native USB 3.0 support for VMs (no more passthrough requirements?)
    • >2TB drive sizes for VMs? (nope!)

    I just haven't had a chance to dive into all that yet. Stay tuned!

    Aug. 27 2012 02:24pm ET  Update:
    I tried out USB 3.0 support, and got a rough experience with a particular USB 3.0 thumb drive on my motherboard's USB 3.0 port, but that might not mean anything as far as how well xHCI will work out.

    I also briefly tried out >2TB virtual drive support, that didn't work out so well either, see new video uploading now added below.

    Sep. 04 2012 08:16am ET Update:
    This ESXi 5.1 Build 799731 will likely be the build generally available for download on September 11, 2012.

    Also learned that the USB 3.0 thumb drive used in the video below was accidentally plugged into a USB 2.0 port, but that still doesn't explain why it disconnected during I/O
    further testing required

    Sep. 11 2012 07:40pm ET Update:
    Download now generally available!

    Sep. 22 2012 10:06pm ET Update:
    Improved Windows 8 VM building procedures now available at
    Using ESXi 5.1 to create "Golden Master" Windows 8 templates for deploying VMs, with ease-of-use tweaks for your lab

    See also Sep 18 2012 VMware kb article 2032756:
    Installing or upgrading to ESXi 5.1 best practices