VMware ESXi 5.x onto a Dell OptiPlex 9020 (Intel I217-LM)

You would like to setup a VMware Lab but don’t have the budget for a real server? What about using a Desktop like a Dell OptiPlex 9020? “I would”, you say, “but I know that standard Desktops are not supported by VMware and that there are mostly issues with the NIC drivers.” You are right, the NIC and SATA drivers can cause issues on so called ‘White boxes’. But luckily, someone on the wide, wide Internet made already all the hard work and created some great tools/resources to help out.

So, every ‘white box’ is different but I will show you here how to get ESXi (in this case ESXi 5.1.0) running onto the Dell OptiPlex 9020:

1.) Download the ESXi-Customizer

2.) Download the net-e1000e-2.3.2.x86_64.vib file for the onboard Intel NIC card here (see also here)

3.) Start the ESXi-Customizer and choose the options like here:


4.) You will get a message that existing drivers will be replaced – this is OK resp. this is what we want:


5.)  Check the ESXi-Customizer.log (it’s in the working directory – in my example C:\VMware\Work) if everything went fine.

6.) Burn the ISO ESXi-5.x-Custom.iso (it’s in the working directory – in my example C:\VMware\Work) onto a CD or create a USB Stick with a tool like UNetbootin.


Some additional resources which helped me here: vm-help.com, Home IT Lab, ivobeerens.nl, VMware Front Experience

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11 Responses to VMware ESXi 5.x onto a Dell OptiPlex 9020 (Intel I217-LM)

  1. SridhAR says:

    excellent for vmware quick learner….thank you so much

  2. Waqar says:

    Thanks bro, it helps lot …

  3. Pingback: ESXi on a Latitude E6440 | flipITflop

  4. Sammy says:

    Worked perfectly. Thanks a bunch for documenting this info!

  5. Hao Doan says:

    THANK YOU! This worked beautiful. I’ve been looking for the right drivers for days.

  6. Claudio says:

    Thanks for the recipe, works perfectly. I also found the cited sources and built my bootable installation stick. I first tried with “VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.5.0.update02” and version 2.3.2 of the Intel network driver, but that made the installation program crash. But I was successful using the VMvisior 5.1 image.

  7. Jean says:

    Thank you!! It really helps me a lot!

  8. Robespierre says:

    Amazing. Thanks a lot.

  9. Christopher says:

    This worked great, thanks!

  10. eh my way says:

    thanks alot ,, you save my time

  11. D F says:

    Great! Thanks to you so much!

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