I followed all these steps but unfortunately it doesn't work. When booting from the stick VMWare says it can't find Bank 1 and Bank 2 and then halts by saying Panic: no banks found (or something).
VMware ESXi 4 installs and runs flawlessly on a Dell PE T105 via USB. I'm also able to format the internal SATA disks with VMFS.
Maybe there is a "whitebox success stories" thread for this..
It sounds like you didn't get all the partitions written to disk. Winimage can end up just restoring a single partition. I would go through the steps again and check the drive using disk manager to verify that you got all the partitions.
Some whitebox motherboards don't support booting anything looking like Linux from a USB drive. Foxconn has a boatload of motherboards that won't boot ESXi from a USB stick (bootup says something like it doesn't like the filesystem even though that same USB stick boots in other boxes fine).
You may be running into that situation with your USB boot.
Also, you may need to go into your System BIOS and change the way your USB ports are seen for booting -- sometimes USB-Hard Drive is best choice if you're not already using that choice or USB-Floppy drive might work. Some have also chosen LZ120 and it's worked for them (I've never had that work).
Also, I've had a couple white boxes that just needed a BIOS upgrade to get ESXi from a USB stick to work.
Thanks, I will try it as soon is possible