How to create a kickstart bootable VMware ESXi USB drive using Windows Powershell script

To kickstart my technical blog, I thought it would be a good idea to show others how to kickstart the image creation and installation of a physical ESXi server.


For unexplained reasons, I have found myself tearing down my home lab completely 😅. I have four physical servers in total, therefore, swapping out the monitor and keyboard can be quite tedious, when installing VMware ESXi on each server.

Since it is my home lab, I use a USB drive as the boot media for my servers (not recommended for production). For that reason, I need to ensure that the ESXi installation kickstart config file will install VMware ESXi onto the same USB drive which contains the ESXi bootable image.

Tested release versions

Software Version
ESXi 7.x / 8.x
PowerShell 5.1.x


Item Notes
Windows Machine The host on which the script will run and USB attached
PowerShell (Administrator) Administrator priviliges required for script to be run
VMware ESXi Hypervisor iso Can be downloaded from VMware
Script downloaded from GitHub (Link) Script created by Harry Thambi to create a bootable ESXi USB drive to kickstart installation automatically
ESXi configuration Basic configuration for the ESXi server - IP, Netmask, Gateway, Nameserver(DNS), VLAN(optional param), Hostname, Root password
USB Flash Drive On wich the ESXi bootable Image and Kickstart will be written onto. The Drive will also be used as the boot disk for the ESXi OS


Download the CreateBootableESXiUSB.ps1 PowerShell script from the GitHub Repo. You can either use git clone (if you have Git installed on your Windows Machine) git clone, or use PowerShell to download the file to a chosen file path, in the following example, the file will be saved in the Desktop directory. Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "" -OutFile "~\Desktop\CreateBootableESXiUSB.ps1"

Download the ESXi ISO image from VMware, in the following example, the file will be saved in the Downloads directory.

Version Link
VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) 8.0.0 (Download) / (Release Notes)
VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) 7.0U3g (Download) / (Release Notes)

Identify the USB flash drive disk number. Get-Disk Make sure to select the correct one, or you will end up erasing the contents of another drive.

This is sample image
The USB flash drive number is 1

Using a PowerShell terminal with Administrator Privileges, run the script specifying the USB drive disk number and the ESXi networking configuration, use the following example as a template:

~\Desktop\CreateBootableESXiUSB.ps1 -isopath "~\Downloads\VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0U3g-20328353.x86_64.iso" `
-diskNum 1 `
-ip `
-netmask `
-gateway `
-nameserver `
-vlan 20 `
-hostname `
-rootpw "VMware1!VMware1!"

You will then be prompted whether the correct disk has been selected, Y to continue, or N to terminate the script and try again.

This is sample image
Script will be terminated when 'N' is selected

This is sample image
Successful creation of bootable USB Media containing the Kickstart file

The USB can now be ejected safely from your Windows device and plugged into the powered-off server.


Once the USB device is inserted into the Server, power on the device, grab a coffee, and if you like, monitor the progress with a monitor. It should take approximately 10 minutes for the installation to complete. If you are lazy like me, keep a constant ping to your new ESXi host and wait for a response to know it is ready to be consumed.

Harry Roshan Thambi
VMware Senior Consultant
@ Xtravirt Ltd
Interested virtualisation, cloud and anything that can be automated.