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Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 Operating System does not boot or install on ESXi or ESX (2006859)

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  • Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 fails to start or install on any version of VMware ESXi or VMware ESX
  • Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 is not working
  • You cannot use Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 in ESXi or ESX


This article provides information on using Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 in a VMware vSphere environment.


Note: Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 is not supported on ESXi/ESX 4.0 or 4.1.

Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 is fully supported for ESXi 5.5, ESXi 5.1, ESXi 5.0 Update 1 and above.

Note: For Windows Server 2012 and ESXi 5.0 Update 1, you must install ESXi 5.0 Patch 04. For more information, see VMware ESXi 5.0, Patch Release ESXi500-201209001 (2032584) and Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.0 best practices (2003866). After applying this patch, the ESXi build should display as 821926.
For more information, see:
Note: The information below relates only to pre-release versions of Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012. For complete support, install the GA version.

Consider this guidance, which is based on testing Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 up to build 8224:
  • Windows 8 Developer Preview / Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate does not boot on ESXi 5.0. To resolve this issue, you must install patch ESXi500-201112001 (Patch 02):

    1. Download and install ESXi500-201112001 (Patch 02). For more information, see VMware ESXi 5.0, Patch Release ESXi500-201112001 (2007680).
    2. Create a new virtual machine configured for either Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2.
    3. Enable 3D graphics or do not install VMware's WDDM video driver.
    4. Install Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 from Media.
    5. Install VMware Tools.

      Note: VMware does not recommend installing VMware's WDDM video driver. Use the default VESA driver.

  • If you experience a black screen after installing VMware's WDDM video driver in a virtual machine with Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012, enable 3D graphics or reinstall the operating system and VMware Tools without VMware's WDDM video driver.

  • VMware does not currently recommend using USB xHCI with Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012. To work around this issue, remove the USB xHCI controller or use the USB EHCI+UHCI controller.

    Note: Any changes to the virtual hardware must be preceded by a full shutdown on the command line (shutdown /s /t 0). Otherwise, the Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 hibernate-shutdown may not fully detect hardware changes and you may experience a blue diagnostic screen or triple fault during start.

  • The vmxnet3 virtual NIC is supported in a Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 virtual machine with ESXi 5.0 Update 1, ESXi 5.0 Update 2 and ESXi 5.1. For more information, see the VMware Guest OS Compatibility List.

Additional Information

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For more information on supported Guest Operating systems, see the Hardware, Host Operating System, and Guest Operating System Compatibility Guides.

For more information, see Windows 8 Release Preview and Windows Server 2012 Release To Manufacturing (RTM) / Release Candidate fail when starting for the first time after the installation (2021887).

See Also

Update History

06/14/2012 - Added link in additional information. 08/31/2012 - Added that Windows 8 is fully supported in ESXi 5.1 09/05/2012 - Added Windows Server 2012 03/19/2013 - Updated ESXi supported platforms 04/11/2013 - Added link to patch for ESXi 5.0 U1

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  • 391 Ratings