With all the required programs installed, we are now ready to customize the default ESXi image. To break it down, I will:

  • Create a virtual machine on VMware Workstation
  • Install the customized ESXi on a USB drive attached to that VM
  • Use the virtual machine to boot into ESXi USB via Plop boot manager
  • Configure hypervisor settings via console access

Remember all of the above is happening inside a virtual machine.

Thanks to Andreas Peetz and his great ESXi Customizer tool, we only need to type in one command to create a customized ESXi image.

.\ESXi-Customizer-PS-v2.4.ps1 -v60 -vft -load net55-r8168,sata-xahci

Install ESXi on USB drive

To install the customized ESXi image, I’ll create a virtual machine on Workstation Player and pass through the USB drive that is plugged into the computer.

Configure the hypervisor

ESXi is now installed on the USB drive, however once booted on the actual server I can’t access the console to configure settings. And that’s because the graphics chip on the Q1900-ITX board is not supported by VMware.

I can however boot the installed ESXi in that same virtual machine and configure host settings. I will change the boot image from ESXi to Plop in for this to work.

NEXT: ESXi on Q1900-ITX