Create custom ESXi installer image with additional network drivers

If one tries to install ESXi on a server equipped with network cards which are not on the official VMware HCL (Hardware Compatibility List), the installer will stop at the network card detection step and refuse to continue with a happy “No network adapters detected”. This is very common for those of us running VMware home labs on non-enterprise hardware.

However, VMware does provide additional network drivers in the shape of Flings. They can be downloaded but how does one create a custom ESXi installer ISO file using those drivers?

To make this process easy and fully automated, I created a PowerShell script which downloads the ESXi image (pick whichever version required) and also the community network drivers as well as the USB network driver fling. It then bundles everything up into an ISO file which can then be written to a USB stick or CD / DVD for installation.

What if you need a different version of ESXi or different drivers?

No problems, the script can be customized to accommodate this as well. Please refer to the YouTube video below for details.

Script for ESXi ISO creation

Location of the script on GitHub: link

Video showing how to use and customize the script