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Upgrading a host to ESXi 5.x fails with the error: The specified network interface card is not plugged in (2020658)

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  • You are unable to upgrade a host to ESXi 5.x.
  • From a remote session (iLO, Drac, KVM) you see the error:

    UnhandledError: Error (see log for more info):
    The specified network interface card (Name: vmnic(x) MAC Address : xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx is not plugged in. Installation cannot continue as requested


This issue is caused by a NIC that is configured as an uplink adapter on the vSwitch where the Service Console/Management Network resides, and it is disconnected or down.


To resolve this issue, use one of these options:

Option 1
  1. Reconnect the uplink to the physical network.
  2. Reboot the ESXi server to allow the upgrade to succeed.

Option 2

Perform an ISO-based install to accomplish the upgrade.

Note: This option is dependent on your host having a remote management card and remote mounting capabilities.
  1. Using your remote management tools, mount the ESXi 5.x ISO file to the virtual CD/DVD device.
  2. Reboot the host.
  3. Boot from the virtual media and perform an in-place upgrade.

Option 3
  1. Using a third-party utility, create a bootable CD/DVD of the ESXi 5.x installer.
  2. Insert the CD/DVD into the affected system.
  3. Reboot the host.
  4. Boot from the physical media and perform an in-place upgrade.

Update History

04/21/2014 - Updated Products for 5.1 and 5.5.

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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  • 11 Ratings