Installing an operating system on a hosted VMWare server

Installing an operating system on a VMware hosted server


Use the VMware Virtual Infrastructure client to connect to the management server.  For more information about how to do this, please see:


Accessing the VMware Management Server


Open the console screen. This will spawn in a separate window.


VMware won't let you connect the virtual floppy or cd/dvd drive until the machine has been powered on, so press the power on button at the top of the console window. It looks like a green "play" icon:



You'll see a familiar computer start up screen.  It prints out the BIOS message.  You can enter CMOS setup. It counts up memory and polls the network card for PXE.





The delay between this screen appearing and booting is normally set to 10 seconds. We can increase or decrease this delay if you wish.


If you press Esc, you can get the Boot Menu:




This screen will stay in place until an action is chosen. This is a good time to map the cd-rom drive.


Pull down the "Connect CD/DVD 1" button in the top menu bar:




Choose an .iso format cd or dvd image on your hard drive. Please note that ESX is a little particular about the name of the .iso file - if the name is too long, you may need to shorten the name of the file. We've had to shorten the Microsoft issued .iso names for Windows images. I normally rename them something like win2k8_x64.iso or the like.

You can also mount a typical "burned" cd or dvd disk that's in the local drive on your computer. Just pick the appropriate drive letter from the Connect CD/DVD menu. 

When an image is mounted, the "Connect CD/DVD 1" button in the console toolbar changes to "Disconnect CD/DVD 1".


Give the disk a moment to "mount", then arrow down to "CD-ROM Drive" in the Boot Menu and press Enter to boot up from the image you mounted.

If you want to dismount the cd/dvd image, click on "Disconnect CD/DVD 1" in the console toolbar.


note: mounted CD/DVD images do not stay mounted if the virtual server is stopped or shut down (aka, "Powered off"). However, they will stay mounted if you restart the virtual server, or if the virtual server reboots (aka, such as what occurs during an operating system install).



Important note (especially for Windows hosts):

You'll want\need to install the VMWare tools immediately after you've finished installing the operating system. The VMWare Tools package includes drivers for the virtual video card, disk controller, and network card that the machine needs.

To do this from the VMware Infrastructure Client, open the Console for the Virtual machine (if it's not already open from installation). Click on the VM menu, and choose "Install/Upgrade VMware Tools".



Doing this will automatically dismount any cd/dvd images that are mounted,  and mount the VMware Tools installer as a virtual cd. We typically choose "Typical" setup for Vmware tools, and the virtual host will need to be restarted after the installer gets done.


Also, to make video performance in the Console for Windows hosts bearable, after the tools have been installed (and the machine has been restarted), you'll want to turn on Video Hardware Acceleration in Windows and move the slider over to Max. You do this in Windows using the normal "Display Properties, Advanced" slider. Here's the one for 2008: