How To: Create an ESXi USB Key


In this short tutorial you’ll learn how to create an ESXi USB Key.

Before we start you need the following tools:

  • 7-Zip
  • Winimage
  • VMware ESX 3i installer CD

After installing the tools we need to extract the *.dd file. Open the VMware-VMvisor-InstallerCD-3.5.0_UpdateX-XXXXXX.i386.iso with 7-Zip. Right click on install.tar and press Open Inside. Remember the Ctrl+PgDn shortcut.


Open usr\lib\vmware\installer. Select VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0_Update_4-153875.i386.dd.bz2 and press Ctrl+PgDn again.

Extract the VMware-VMvisor-big-3.5.0_Update_4-153875.i386.dd file.


Now we have the *.dd file and we can write it back to an USB Key.

Open WinImage and pres Disk followed by Restore Virtual Hard Disk image on physical drive…


Select the USB Key. In my case it’s a SanDisk Cruzer.


Open de *.dd file and answer Yes on the LAST WARNING.


When the wizard completes without an error. The USB Key is ready to use.



if you’re running Windows Vista or Windows 7 x64 you might get an error like this:


If someone knows a solution for this problem please leave a comment. If you run this tutorial on a Windows XP machine, it will work as expected.