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Installing ESXi in VMware Fusion (2009580)

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This article provides instructions on installing VMware ESXi in a virtual machine. Installing ESXi in a virtual machine provides a way to try the product without dedicating hardware to it. A virtual ESXi machine may be useful if you are studying to become a VMware Certified Professional (VCP).

By default, you can only run 32-bit virtual machines in ESXi. If you need to run 64-bit virtual machines, see the Additional Information section.


Installing ESXi

To install ESXi in VMware Fusion:
  1. Download the ESXi ISO image from the VMware Download Center.

    Note: If offered a choice, select the version for systems without software iSCSI configured.

  2. Open VMware Fusion.
  3. Click File > New in the Fusion menu bar.
  4. For Fusion 8.x, 7.x and 6.x:

    1. Click Install from disc or image.
    2. Click Continue.
    3. Click Use another disc or disc image.
    4. Select the ESXi ISO you downloaded, then click Open.

    For Fusion 5.x:

    1. Click Continue without disk.
    2. Click Choose a disk or disk image.
    3. Select the ESXi ISO you downloaded, then click Open.

  5. Click Continue.
  6. For the operating system, select VMware ESX. For the version, select the ESXi/ESX version you downloaded, then click Continue.
  7. Click Finish.

    Note: If you want to make any adjustments to the virtual machine settings, such as switching to Bridged networking or increasing the RAM, processor, or disk space allocation, click Customize settings.

  8. Give your virtual machine a name and choose where to save it. Click Save.
  9. When the installation starts, select ESXi-version-build-standard Installer, or wait 5 seconds.

    Where version is the ESXi version and build is the ESXi build number.

  10. Press Enter to start the boot process, or wait 5 seconds.
  11. Enter your administrator username and password when prompted and click OK. This allows the virtual machine to run in promiscuous mode, which is required for the network settings to work.
  12. On the Welcome screen, press Enter to continue.
  13. Press fn+F11 to accept the EULA and continue.

    • If you have enabled the option on your Mac to use the function keys as standard function keys, press F11 instead of fn+F11.
    • If the keypresses do not register in the ESXi guest, press control+command to release the mouse, then click Virtual Machine > Send Key > F11 in the Fusion menu bar.

  14. Select the virtual drive where you want to install VMware ESXi, then press Enter to continue.
  15. Select a keyboard layout. Press Enter to continue.
  16. Enter a root password. Press the down arrow key, then enter the password again to confirm. Press Enter to continue.
  17. This warning appears:

    <HARDWARE_VIRTUALIZATION WARNING: Hardware Virtualization is not a feature of the CPU, or is not enabled in the BIOS>

    This message is expected. Press Enter to continue.

  18. Confirm that the information on the screen is correct, then press fn+F11 to start the installation.

    Note: The same guidelines for this keypress apply.

  19. When the installation is complete, press Enter to reboot.

Configuring networking

The ESXi guest starts with an IP address assigned with DHCP. To set a static IP address:
  1. Press fn+F2.

    • If you have enabled the option on your Mac to use the function keys as standard function keys, press F2 instead of fn+F2.

  2. Enter your password, then press Enter.
  3. Select Configure Management Network, then press Enter.
  4. Select IP Configuration, then press Enter.
  5. Select Set static IP addresses and network configuration, then press the space bar.
  6. Press the down arrow key to select the IP Address field, then enter the correct information.
  7. If you need to set the Subnet or Default Gateway, press the down arrow key to select and modify those fields.
  8. After you have finished adjusting the settings, press Enter to exit.
  9. Press ESC to exit the configuration screen.
  10. When you are prompted to restart the management network for the changes to take effect, press Y.
  11. Press ESC again to return to the main screen.

Additional Information

Running 64-bit virtual machines

If you are using an i3 or later processor (that is, you do not have a Core 2 Duo), you can enable nested VT. This allows you to run 64-bit virtual machines within ESXi. To enable nested VT, add this line to the .vmx file of the ESXi virtual machine:
vhv.enable = "TRUE"
For more information, see Editing the .vmx file for your VMware Fusion virtual machine (1014782).

See Also

Update History

03/14/2012 - Clarified on editing .vmx to enable 64-bit guests 09/13/2013 - Added Fusion 6 to products

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


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