ESXi 6.5 installer not seeing USB flash drives

CosmoJoe

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Jan 24, 2017
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I am wondering if anyone is running ESXi on usb flash drives and ran into this issue with ESXi 6.5:
Upgrade to ESXi 6.5, installer doesn't find USB... | VMware Communities

I wanted to kick the tires on my lab vm hosts. For convenience and simplicity, ESXi is installed to flash drive and after booting to ESXi 6.5 installation, was quite surprised when it saw no existing ESXi installations or storage options for that matter! Is there a workaround for this aside from connecting some other local storage?
 

cgtechuk

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Dec 27, 2016
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Hi... I had a similar issue to this on my latest physical build and found it be relating to USB 3 support. When I plugged the flash drive into a USB 2 port it found it no problem. Ymmv
 

CosmoJoe

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Jan 24, 2017
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I appreciate the suggestion! Unfortunately, the board I am using has only USB 2.0 ports.. most are on the back at the usual location, but the ones I use are the internal ports mounted on the motherboard itself. I will try different port locations to see if it makes a difference.
 

realtomatoes

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Oct 3, 2016
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ran into something like this back when i was still using discs for installing stuff. i loaded the installer on the usb using rufus. it booted and i then installed on the usb drive.
 

Tom5051

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Jan 18, 2017
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I built a new ESXi 6.5 host last week and it is running on a USB 3.0 Sandisk Ultra in a 3.0 slot no problems.
I did use Rufus to load the ISO onto a usb drive.
Not much help but just so you know it does work.
 

Wired4Data

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Mar 8, 2016
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I've had this problem on one of my hosts and 6.5. Is the USB drive you are attempting to install on only 8GB by any chance? I really don't think Esxi 6.5 supports drives less than 16GB. After i swapped out my 8GB for a 16GB USB drive I had no problems with installation. Hope this actually helps you.
 
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CosmoJoe

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Jan 24, 2017
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I've had this problem on one of my hosts and 6.5. Is the USB drive you are attempting to install on only 8GB by any chance? I really don't think Esxi 6.5 supports drives less than 16GB. After i swapped out my 8GB for a 16GB USB drive I had no problems with installation. Hope this actually helps you.
Much appreciated! I think that may be the issue :) I tried a larger USB thumbdrive last evening and noticed it was able to see the drive. I was looking around for documentation on minimum drive size and cannot find anything definitive. Very frustrating, but glad that is all it was.
 

das1996

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Sep 4, 2018
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Sorry to bump an old thread but this came up in my search while experiencing the same issue.

I successfully installed esxi 6.5 to a 1GB (pny), 2GB (no name), and 32GB (corsair voyager) usb flash drive. I also have an 8gb usb flash from siliconimage (vendor:pid ID 090c:1000). No go with this one, usb 2 or 3 ports. Tried on a different machine with the same results. Reviewing the dmesg log reveals some cryptic error messages - does not support VPD device id page.

I believe something in the flash drive firmware is making esxi reject it. Given that it's a generic drive, I suppose this is expected. In any event, unless one is logging to the flash drive itself, seems 1gb is plenty.
 
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realtomatoes

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Oct 3, 2016
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Sorry to bump an old thread but this came up in my search while experiencing the same issue.

I successfully installed esxi 6.5 to a 1GB (pny), 2GB (no name), and 32GB (corsair voyager) usb flash drive. I also have an 8gb usb flash from siliconimage (vendor:pid ID 090c:1000). No go with this one, usb 2 or 3 ports. Tried on a different machine with the same results. Reviewing the dmesg log reveals some cryptic error messages - does not support VPD device id page.

I believe something in the flash drive firmware is making esxi reject it. Given that it's a generic drive, I suppose this is expected. In any event, unless one is logging to the flash drive itself, seems 1gb is plenty.
interesting indeed. am building a new node and the only 8gb usb drive i found was a silicon power. 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5, and 6.7 all can't find the drive. checked if it was a driver issue or what-not. went to the Virtualization section of our forums and saw your post.

tried my spare 32gb sandisk and BHAM! installer found the usb drive. better get me some more spare sandisk usb drive for backup.