HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 (ESXi 6.5)

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
EE Fellow, MVE, Expert of the Year 2021,2017-11, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2018-6,2013-2012 VMware vExpert Pro, vExpert 2022-2011
HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 (ESXi 6.5), Step by Step Tutorial with screenshots. From Download, Checking Media, to Completed Installation.
In my previous Experts Exchange Articles, most have featured Basic and Intermediate VMware and Virtualisation Topics. 

If you would like to read my Basic VMware articles, they are listed at the end of this article for your convenience.

This article will show you how to install and configure the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 on a computer. VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 is also known as ESXi 6.5.

A full list of the ESXi 6.5 Hardware Requirements can be found in the VMware ESXi 6.5 Install Guide.

Check the VMware Hardware Compatibility Lists (HCL), to discover if your computer is certified for use with ESXi 6.5.

If your computer is not listed on the VMware HCL, it may still be possible to install and run VMware ESXi 6.5 on your laptop, desktop, or server. The HCL exists because the server vendor and VMware have certified and tested ESXi 6.5 will function correctly, on the servers listed on the HCL.

1. Register with and Download VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5

Open the following link in your web browser Download VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5

Click the License and Download Tab. (Please note at time of writing this article VMware had not changed 6.0 to 6.5!)

Download-VMware-vSphere-Hypervisor-f.jpgClick Create an Account, to Create an Account and Login to the VMware Download Center. VMware will email you an Activation link which needs to be opened to create the account.

The following page will be displayed when you have successfully logged into the VMware Download Center.

Download-VMware-vSphere-Hypervisor-f.jpgPay special attention to the FREE License information which is displayed, and record this License Number, this will be required in a later article.

Click the download link for VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi ISO) image (Includes VMware Tools) to download the software required to install ESXi 6.0. The filename you want to download is called VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.5.0-4564106.x86_64.iso, The clue is in the word VMvisor installer, many questions get posted to Experts Exchange because the wrong file has been downloaded and burnt to a CDROM!

Either use the Download Manager or Manually Download button (which uses your web browser). The CD ISO is only 328MB so should not take too long to download. We have a very slow internet connection, at approx 350 kB/sec, and it takes us approximately 10 minutes to download.

Once the downloads have been completed using your favourite MD5 and SHA1 checksum utility, confirm the downloads have been downloaded correctly, using the published MD5 and SHA1 checksums from the VMware website.  We use the MD5 & SHA-1 Checksum Utility 2.1 from

Many VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 installations fail due to corrupt downloads.


2. Installing VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 (ESXi 6.5)

Write (Burn) the VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.5.0-4564106.x86_64.iso downloaded in Step 1, to a blank CDROM, using your favourite CD writing software. We use ISO Recorder ( If you are using remote server utilities, e.g. HP iLo or Dell iDRAC,. you can attach the virtual CDROM drive in the server to the VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.5.0-4564106.x86_64.iso ISO, so there is no requirement to write a CDROM.

This is a step which is often missed, ensure the BIOS BOOT order is set to BOOT from the CDROM Device or ATAPI device in the server, otherwise the computer will not BOOT from the CDROM.

Power on the Computer, the computer will BOOT from the CDROM, and the following BOOT screen will be displayed

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgThe default option is to BOOT ESXi-6.5.0-45641064564106-standard Installer after 10 seconds, hit any key will pause the BOOT process. The number 4564106 is the Build Version of the software.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgAt the Welcome to the VMware ESXi 6.5.0 Installation screen Hit Enter to Continue the installation.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgPress F11 (Function Key 11) to Accept the VMware End User License Agreement (EULA)

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgThe ESXi installer will scan the computer storage controller for available devices to install ESXi.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgESXi can be installed on a USB flash drive, SD card attached to the computer, local SATA, local RAID Array, or Fibre Channel or iSCSI LUN. All these are supported options. As the footprint for ESXi is very small only 1GB is required for the ESXi OS installation.

We have written an EE Article here on How to Backup an ESXi installation on an USB Flash Drive or SD card, for security or redundancy. After you have completed the ESXi 6.5 installation, shutdown the server, remove the USB flash drive or SD card, and duplicate it using our EE Article.

When prompted select a disk to install ESXi on, in the following example, we have two disks connected to this computer, a single 1GB disk, and a 120GB disk. We are going to use the small disk for the OS. (this simulates the USB flash drive!). The larger 120GB disk will be used later for the storage of virtual machines.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgWhen prompted, select the keyboard layout and hit Enter to continue. The default keyboard layout is US Default.

When prompted enter a root password, confirm the password and hit Enter to continue

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgThe following will be displayed

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgWhen prompted Confirm the Installation on the selected disk and press F11 (Install)
 - Function Key 11
All data will be erase, as the disk will be re-partitioned.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgThe Progress Bar will confirm installation progress.

The installation only takes approximately 5-10 minutes, depending upon speed of storage. When the installation has completed the following screen will be displayed.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgRemove the CDROM installation disk before rebooting. Hit Enter to Reboot. After hitting Enter the follow screen will be displayed and the computer will reboot.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgESXi 6.5 will operate in evaluation mode for 60 days. This is the same mode as a FULLY LICENSED ESXi 6.5 server. If you wish to evaluate all the bells and whistles that ESXi 6.5 has to offer, do not register your FREE license. for 60 days, this will allow you to evaluate ESXi 6.5 server fully. On day 59/60, Apply your FREE license to continue using the product, or you will not be able to power on any virtual machines.

3. Configuring VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 (ESXi 6.5)

The following screen is displayed when VMware ESXi 6.5 first boots

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgVMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgVMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgThe server is fully booted when it displays the following screen

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgThe default server configuration is to use DHCP, if you do not have a DHCP server issuing IP Addresses on your network you will need to assign an IP Address. We recommend you use a static IP Address for your ESXi Host Server.

Press F2 to Customize System, you will be prompted to enter the root username and password.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgSelect Configure Management Network to change Network Parameters.
Select IPv4 Configuration

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgSet the Static IPv4 address and network configuration, Subnet Mask and Default Gateway, it's important to set the correct Default Gateway, as this will be used later. Hit Enter to confirm and save the configuration. 

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgSelect DNS Configuration, enter the correct DNS information for your network, and enter a hostname for your server. Hit Enter to save the configuration. Pay particular attention to DNS when installing VMware vSphere, many issues are posted to Experts Exchange because there is no DNS, or hostnames are not registered in DNS. Ensure you have a good working DNS before you start an installation.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgSelect Custom DNS Suffixes
Enter your DNS suffix (the domain name for your network). Make sure you have created a DNS A Record in your DNS, so that this server can be resolved correctly through forward and reverse lookups.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgHit Enter to save your configuration.

Press Escape, the following screen will appear, select Y(es) to apply changes.

VMware-ESXi-6.5---VMware-Workstation.jpgPress Escape to Logout and return to the console screen.

You will notice on the console screen, the server now has a hostname configured, and correct static IP Address.

Congratulations you have successfully installed and configured VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5. 

In the next article in the series, we will connect and continue to configure the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5.

HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5 (ESXi 6.5) using the vSphere (HTML5 Web) Host Client 6.5​

Basic VMware Articles Series: 
These articles are also applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
EE Fellow, MVE, Expert of the Year 2021,2017-11, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2018-6,2013-2012 VMware vExpert Pro, vExpert 2022-2011

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