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VM will not start with eSata Card Attached

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Last Modified: 2021-04-12
I'm hoping I can explain this adequately for some help.
I suspect it will be obvious anyway - but keep in mind I am quite new to vmWare!

I am running free VMware ESXi Hypervisor and have installed a PCI express eSata card to enable connecting an external 2 bay HDD enclosure. The card is recognized by ESXi and I have enabled passthrough with the intent to use with a MS Server 2016 Essentials VM. The card was also successfully added to the Server2016e VM. (This is only for internal testing and will not be a heavy use environment - eSata will be sufficient).

So - the problem?
Server2016e will not boot.
The Win Logo appears momentarily and disappears.
The VM returns to not running state without any "Windows" error.
If the eSata card is removed from the VM,  Server2016e starts and runs fine.

Is this because VMware does not support the card
(it would not seem so considering how far I got)
or an issue with Server2016e?

Any suggestions on how to get past this?

Thanks!


other info...
PCI Card: Startech PEXESAT322I
System: Lenovo ThinkServer TS140
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