For some of you that may not know ESXi 5.1 has been released. If you are like me running it for free at home or in the office, you may have asked yourself. How can I update my existing ESXi 5.0 installation without needing to use a CD / USB. Well my friends, it’s good you stopped by.

First thing you need to down and go on and log into your VMware account and download the ESXi 5.1 Offline Bundle (a file named While your are there you should download all other ESXi 5.1 related downloads; You’ll only need them later anyhow.

Next you need up upload the bundle to a data-store that your host has access to. This can be done via the vSphere Client or any other SCP client such as WinSCP or Filezilla FTP Client. Once uploaded to a data store you can can SSH into your host and run the following commands to update your system:


When done you will find yourself back at the command interface and all you need to do is type ‘reboot‘ and wait about 5 min’s for the system to go down.

Please note that you should have already powered down any and all virtual guest systems before updating to minimize on the time it takes to reboot

Additional Notes: (if you are just patching 5.0 for the use with Win8/Server12

Consider this guidance, which is based on testing Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 up to build 8224:
  • Windows 8 Developer Preview / Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate does not boot on ESXi 5.0. To resolve this issue, you must install patch ESXi500-201112001 (Patch 02):
    1. Download and install ESXi500-201112001 (Patch 02). For more information, see VMware ESXi 5.0, Patch Release ESXi500-201112001 (2007680).
    2. Create a new virtual machine configured for either Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2.
    3. Enable 3D graphics or do not install VMware’s WDDM video driver.
    4. Install Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 from Media.
    5. Install VMware Tools.Note: VMware does not recommend installing VMware’s WDDM video driver. Use the default VESA driver.
  • If you experience a black screen after installing VMware’s WDDM video driver in a virtual machine with Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012, enable 3D graphics or reinstall the operating system and VMware Tools without VMware’s WDDM video driver.
  • VMware does not currently recommend using USB xHCI with Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012. To work around this issue, remove the USB xHCI controller or use the USB EHCI+UHCI controller.Note: Any changes to the virtual hardware must be preceded by a full shutdown on the command line (shutdown /s /t 0 /full). Otherwise, the Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 hibernate-shutdown may not fully detect hardware changes and you may experience a blue diagnostic screen or triple fault at boot.
  • The vmxnet3 virtual NIC does not work in a Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 virtual machine with ESXi 5.0. To work around this issue, use e1000e or e1000 NICs.