Bank6: Not a VMWare boot bank No hypervisor found

I have an HP DL380 G8 with two arrays on the 410i controller (one is a mirrored 146G set and the other a 300G set.)
I am running the latest firmware. This is a production machine. Windows Server 2008 is installed on the 146G partition.

Because it is the only capable machine we have as a virtual host, I installed another set of drives, installed ESXi 5.5 hypervisor, and can easily choose to boot to either volume.

The intent is to virtualize the same Windows 2008 on this other drive set. I had a perfectly good VMware conversion running on the datastore (which I worked on quite a bit but thankfully didn't go live.) I needed to boot back into the actual Windows installation for a couple days and when I booted back to VMware I got "Bank6: Not a VMWare boot bank. No hypervisor found."

VMware's knowledgebase says to reformat!!! Arrrg!

So, I can recreate what I did, but why oh why did Microsoft mess up my VMware drive? What can I do to keep this from happening again if I need to boot back into the other volume? I can see the volumes in Windows (in fact, it assigned drive letters to the FAT partitions, which messed up my network drive mappings (oops, I didn't think of that.) Can anyone tell me what the heck happened and how to avoid it? (or even better - have a fix?) I'm proficient with Linux as well by the way. Thanks
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
What did you install ESXi to? I would install it onto a USB stick or an SD card. Servers usually have an internal SD card slot or USB port just for that. You can easily clone this to a 2nd stick or card which you could then use as a backup. If you need to boot to your other OS you could just remove the card or stick from the server so nothing can happen to it. You can then also use all of your HD's space for the datastore.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Just re-install your ESXi 5.5 installation on the USB flash drive, the ESXi installer, will prompt you not to overwite VMFS. (and all your VMs will be safe).

and then just browse datastores, and add the VMs back to inventory.

We backup our USB/SD card installations:-

How to Backup an ESXi installation on an USB Flash Drive or SD card, for security or redundancy.

However, ESXi 5.5 has changed and Winimage does not support it so use

We then regularly backup the configuration, using vCLI

Backup the host config to the file C:\backup.txt:

 vicfg-cfgbackup <conn_options> -s C:\backup.txt

Restore a saved config C:\backup.txt to the host:

 vicfg-cfgbackup <conn_options> -l C:\backup.txt
ChrisHelveyAuthor Commented:
So, let me get this straight. IT departments, in a production environment, boot VMware server to a USB stick? Really?

That is a great option to save my VMs though. Thanks. I'll do that. And thanks for the info on backing up the ESXi installation.

It just seems so counter-intuitive to boot a USB "drive" sticking out the back of a rack mounted server that is mission-critical.
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Most servers that are built with virtualization in mind have an internal USB port and / or card reader. So the stick isn't accessible from the outside and it won't stick out.
ChrisHelveyAuthor Commented:
Don't I feel silly...
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Well, I would not leave a USB stick hanging out of a Server in the datacentre, but some do!

Most modern servers now have internal USB or SD cards slots for this very purpose.

I've been installing on these servers since 2004! All our installations are ESXi on USB or SD card.

Dell now have mirrored SD card slots in their servers.

The Server only reads and boots from the ESXi USB flash drive, on boot, it then goes memory resident!

OH, and you can remove the stick, and ESXi still functions - tested!

but it's not designed for boot and remote USB stick!

here's my proof, I did a You Tube Video!
ChrisHelveyAuthor Commented:
Your help is awesome. I'll give it a try in off-hours. Thanks.
Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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