Problems installing guest OS on VMWare ESXi 3.5

Ok, I'm relatively new with VMWare and ESXI 3.5, but I've been working on this issue for hours with no answer. I hope someone can help me here.

I have a Dell PowerEdge 2900 with VMWare ESXi 3.5 loaded up without issue. I have created a new virtual machine without issue. But I can't get either a CD/DVD or ISO to boot to load the guest OS on the VM.

I have browsed these boards and the Internet, and I still cannot get this to work. Under the VM hardware options, I have tried to point the CDRom to the server CD Rom drive to boot, but it still goes to the PXE boot. I have told it to browse to the ISO files I have from MS and even renamed them and lowercased the .iso extension, still PXE boot and Operating System not found messages. I have gone into the BIOS and told it to boot from CDROM, still no luck.

I then tried to do what a lot of the forums said and copy the ISO over directly to the datastore on the server using WinSCP and Veeam FastSCP, and neither one works. It simply says Host refused or host not found. I have tried to telnet to the IP of the server on port 22 to see, and it can't connect as if it's not listening on that port.

The CDROM on the server is a SATA drive, but even the fixes for SATA CDROM's I've tried don't work.

Can anyone help me? This stuff is kinda critical at this point...

Michael SAsked:
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First off, have you tried booting your desktop with the CD to make sure it is really bootable?  Some times the ones MS gives you aren't.  The DVD images have a bunch of ISOs on them that you then have to burn, or copy to your machine.

It won't be a case sensitivity issue, that is for sure.

It will always try PXE, unless you turn it off in the VM's bios, but thats not bad - I think the default is network, then hard drive, then cd-rom.  So let the PXE fail and it will move on.

Those SCP product (I like filezilla myself) just transfer files. SCP is like ftp, but encrypted, and runs over ssh.  These connect on port 22, which is ssh.  You wouldn't telnet to this port, because it isn't for telnet, it is for ssh.  ssh (and scp which uses ssh) are turned off by default.  See this page to turn them on:

However, check the media and make sure your desktop can boot from it.  Using SCP to transfer the file to the ESX host isn't the greatest idea, and the other way should work.

Michael SAuthor Commented:
Yeah, the ISO's and CD's are bootable.  I have tested them on the server itself and they boot fine.

I used that link to turn on SSH - I knew telnet didn't go directly to 22 but if I put 22 at the end of the telnet I should have at least gotten a black screen if it was listening.  Because it wasn't, I suspected it just wasn't turned on.
Michael SAuthor Commented:
I successfully copied over the ISO to the datastore and chose in the Hardware profiles to use it as the CD/DVD and clicked on Connect when turned on option.  Still goes straight to PXE.  Also, in the BIOS of VMWare, it does not allow me to disable or turn off the PXE boot in the Boot options.
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Try to delete the VM and start over with a new one. Every now and then I get the same issue on a new VM.
Michael SAuthor Commented:
I've done that three times already.  I'm about to reinstall all of ESXi pretty soon.
1. If you run ESXi, you have to enable SSH access. Then, you can SSH to ESXi. Try google, bunch of howtos is around here.
2. Then, on certain chipsets, it may happen, that CD may be unavailable, I had certain problems with CD on ICH7/9. Can you see in the config the REAL CD?
3. On top of virtual machine, did you try to check on option next time prompt for BIOS? (Edit settings --> Options, select boot options, check on Force BIOS Setup)
Michael SAuthor Commented:
1.  I did that, and copied over the ISO directly to the datastore to try and boot from it - failed, went straight to PXE.
2.  The CDROM shows up in the manager under SCSI devices, not under IDE.
3.  I did check the force BIOS setup and it went directly into the BIOS on boot.  I did all the changes there and rebooted, still went straight to PXE and Operating system not found.
I'm having the exact same issue.  Tried everything the original poster has tried and NO LUCK....I have ESXi installed on a Dell Poweredge 2500sc and can't install a guest OS via the CDROM or if I point it to an .iso image that I've copied up to a datastore on the physical VM Host machine.....This is getting frustrating.
Having the same problem, not sure if VMWare (the company) is really aware of the problem: <> So we're all curious as to how this problem may be resolved.
We're running (or attempting to run) on a Dell PowerEdge-1900 - the ESXi loaded OK, and appears to be running well - but if I can't install guest OS's, that's of limited value to me.
Any body else have any ideas?  Inquiring minds like ours would love to know...
BREAKTHROUGH!  When you see that button on top of the Remote Control form - labeled "Connect CD/DVD" - it's referring to the CD/DVD drive on the Remote machine!  No joke, we just loaded three machines on our new server, and they're working just great!

So, in our case, we were remoting from Shelob, the Backup Server.  (Shelob is the name of the demon-spider that tangled with Frodo in LOTR, if you must know...)  We placed the OS CD in Shelob's CD/DVD drive, clicked "connect" on the remote-ware, and after a few seconds we were in business!

Hope this helps --- it wasn't readily evident to us, either!


- The Lurking LongFist
Michael SAuthor Commented:
Yeah, that's the problem I'm having - I click that button to connect it to the CD/DVD, and it says it's connected, but then with the CD/DVD in the drive, it still doesn't recognize it's there and boot to it.
It's connected to the CD/DVD drive on your remote machine - the one you're physically touching, the one running the VI Client.  I'm sorry - this can be confusing at times.  From the server's point of view, the machine you're using to administer from is considered remote.  The CD/DVD on the machine you're physically touching is the one you've connected.  (It makes sense, in a sort of twisted way...)

Try putting the CD/DVD into the drive on the machine you are physically operating from -> the machine which is running the VI Client -> and see what happens.  I know, it would be nice were this documented somewhere - maybe more than once.  Apparently it's easy to miss.  I know I missed it...

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I was having this exact issue, but then found the stupid little check box that I missed...

Edit the settings of the VM, click on the CD/DVD Drive, and make sure to check the "Connect at power on" check box.  
just an added note.  I tried all this and still couldnt get mine to work until I went to EDIT CONFIG > OPTIONS TAB > BOOT OPTIONS > and set 2500 on BOOT DELAY
korEn3tzSenior Linux Administrator / SaaS Ops ManagerCommented:
jlubinsky you saved me a lot of hassle! Now it's time to get our virtual environment off the ground. WOOHOO!
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