Microsoft Windows Server 2012 runs fine on VMware ESXi 5.1

Posted by Paul Braren on Sep 5 2012 (updated on Sep 7 2012) in
  • ESXi
  • Windows
  • Virtualization
  • esxi-version-5-1-0-build-799733

    Yes, Microsoft Windows Server 2012 was launched today, Tuesday September 4th, 2012:

    with the final RTM (Release To Manufacture) code now available, Build 9200, seen in my screenshots. Yes, this is the real code, not beta, at last.

    Next Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, VMware will make their vSphere/ESXi 5.1 code generally available for download. Same deal, I already have the real code, not beta, and have tried the two products out together.

    Turns out these "stars" are aligning nicely, it's quite easy to run Windows Server 2012 on ESXi 5.1!

    *if you're impatient, giving Server 2012 a try on ESXi 5.0 Update 1, your results may vary

    I went with the Standard version for the purposes of this test, you may of course with to download the Enterprise version instead, see the differences outlined here: 

    How to install Microsoft Windows Server 2012 as a VMware ESXi 5.1 Virtual Machine

    1. Download the Windows Server 2012 Standard ISO named:
      Windows Server 2012 (x64) - DVD (English)
      at Microsoft Download Center in MSDN here, and grab the license key while you're there, you'll be needing it for the install, seen (blurred out) in the video at this spot

    2. Upload the ISO to the ESXi datastore using free Veeam FastSCP or later (5x faster) or vSphere Client Datastore Browser (slower, but not as bad as it was in the ESX 4.0 days)
      (Nov 12 2012 Update: Veaam 6.5 is now out and ready for download here, with full Windows 8 / Windows 2012 support)

    3. Next, follow along with the YouTube video I posted below, where you'll see me:
      create a new VM using the easier "Typical" option, setting the OS type to "Windows Server 2012 (64 bit)"

    when the install is complete, install VMware Tools (Typical), and reboot when prompted after the install, which took about 5 minutes total on an older SSD, from start to finish

    Optionally, if you have vCenter, you then create a template out of this "master" build, then deploy from this template, which is essentially just a quick clone.

    Sep. 07 2012 Update:
    VMware has now updated Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 Operating System does not boot or install on ESXi or ESX on Sep. 05, 2012, here's an except:

    Like many of you, VMware is becoming familiar with Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 preview. VMware is testing and enabling the support of Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 on vSphere.

    Note: Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 is not going to be supported on ESX/ESXi 4.0 or 4.1.
    Windows 8/Windows Server 2012, is listed as Tech Preview support for ESXi 5.0 Update 1 in the Guest OS compatibility guide. For more information on the Tech Preview support level, see Understanding guest operating system support levels (2015161).

    Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 is fully supported for ESXi 5.1, according to the What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1 document.