MyDogHasFleas
Contributor
Contributor

Cannot install VMware ESXi 4.1 "Unable to find the system image to install"

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Downloaded ESXi 4.1 iso, burned to a CD, booted CD, go through screens, hit F11 to install. Immediately get the following error:

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Installation operation failed!

The installation operation has encountered a fatal error:

Unable to find system image to install. This is due to the image not being mounted correctly or the CD-ROM not being supported.

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The hardware is a homebuilt system with Intel DQ35JO board, latest BIOS, Intel E6850 CPU, 8GB RAM, 2 SATA drives. I know this is not on the compatible list but is a "whitebox". I've installed ESXi 3.5 on it in the past and gotten it up and running, and I've seen other success stories with this board/CPU. Yes I enabled virtualization mode in the BIOS and powered down/up.

Here's what I've tried:

-- Redownload VMware-VMvisor-Installer-4.1.0-260247.x86_64.iso to make sure it wasn't corrupt (2 copies compared perfectly)

-- Tried a different CDROM drive (IDE)

-- Created a bootable USB stick using uNetBootin 4.7.1 and booted from it

-- Switched SATA setting in BIOS from AHCI to IDE

I keep getting the exact same error. I've searched here and everywhere and find no reference to this error.

Help -- what do you all suggest for my next step?

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50 Replies
jfice
Contributor
Contributor

Yeah that does work,

but that original error message is a bit odd though, I wonder if it's an issue with the actual Image not liking the generic drivers it uses to mount it with, when it's in that pre-installation environment before it installs.

Is someone working on resolving this issue? Does anyone know whether it only effects particular Servers, say for example the HP Proliant ML110 G6? and a few others? or do most servers work?

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asatoran
Immortal
Immortal

but that original error message is a bit odd though, I wonder if it's an issue with the actual Image not liking the generic drivers it uses to mount it with, when it's in that pre-installation environment before it installs.

Is someone working on resolving this issue? Does anyone know whether it only effects particular Servers, say for example the HP Proliant ML110 G6? and a few others? or do most servers work?

You'll want to note that all the systems mentioned in the thread, including your ML110, are NOT on the hardware compatibility list. VMware tends not to comment on upcoming features and since this is happening to unsupported systems, I'm not holding my breath that we'll hear anything about a fix for this.

And while the P400 hard drive controller you tried is on the compatibility list, the error appears to be with reading the CD since the error is about finding a install image, not about finding suitable destination drives. So it seems to me to be a problem with the controller for the CD-ROM drive, not the hard drives. (Again, unsupported systems, yada, yada, yada.) Perhaps you want to try using a PCI IDE controller for the CD ROM rather than using the onboard IDE (or SATA.)

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MyDogHasFleas
Contributor
Contributor

I notice that the IDE DVD drive on my Intel DQ35JO box is not recognized by the running ESXi 4.1 - I can't attach it to a guest VM.

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RPrins
Contributor
Contributor

I had the exact same problem. -->"Unable to find the system image to install"

The only solution that worked for me was install ESXi 4.0 , then upgrade to 4.1

I assume (havent tried) that if even this fails , you can install 3.5 and upgrade from there..

Everything running smoothly now on my HP Pr DL380...

Just wanted to share Smiley Happy

Grtz.

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coni
Contributor
Contributor

Please use an external CD drive and install it.

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Stangobien
Contributor
Contributor

Proliant ML350 G6 is on the compatibility list.

ESXi 4.1 installable won't install, can't find the CD/DVD rom drive.

I also tried with an image for ESXi 4.1 from the HP site. Same thing, won't recognize DVD drive for install.

And this is a system that IS compatible !

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JGurtz
Contributor
Contributor

Confirming this same issue exists trying to install ESXi 4.1 to internal SD card in HP Proliant DL380 G7. I am using the supported HP 4GB SD Card.

I tried the installable 4.1 from VMWare and also the July 2010 4.1 installable download from HP. Both have same problem. I used unetbootin-windows-471.exe to make my bootable USB key to install from.

4.0 (no update) is installing right now as I type. So that plus updating to 4.1 looks like the easy workaround for now.

Sad Face

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Stangobien
Contributor
Contributor

Upgrading ESXi 4.0 to 4.1 without Vcenter is not that easy. But it works.

Strange thing. Last week i installed ESXi 4.1 on a HP Proliant DL360 G6 (on SDCARD) and everything went fine. I was expecting the same DVD trouble and had prepared my USB stick, but i didn't need it.

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awc1
Contributor
Contributor

Ok, there is a very easy solution if you get this error message.

ONE LINE SOLUTION: ******** Get a cheap External USB CD/DVD drive! ******************

I fiddled around with my BIOS settings for a while and kept getting the CD not found error after pressing F11.

I finally just grabbed a cheap $50 Samsung external USB DVD drive I had for one of my laptops. Well you know what? ESXi 4.1 installed without an issue on my machine.

I suspect that VMware will not test every possible combination of SATA/AHCI/IDE CD-ROMs that are out there and that is perfectly fair to be honest. But supporting USB CD/DVD drives is something that would be much easier to do as they must all follow the USB standard for communication.

Like everyone else, the motherboard (Gigabyte EP24-DS4) could install ESXi 4.0 fine with the internal drive. But ESXi 4.1 would not install with my internal drive. But ESXi 4.1 installed fine by just using an external USB CD/DVD drive.

This seems like an ideal solution to this problem. No anoying 4.0--> 4.1 upgrades- just install and go.

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awc1
Contributor
Contributor

I apologize for all the white space in my post above. I kept trying to edit out the spaces but it kept getting worse. Smiley Sad

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MyDogHasFleas
Contributor
Contributor

When I was trying to install 4.1, I tried a USB attached DVD, it still didn't work. I had to go the install-3.5-and-upgrade-via-CLI route.

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RobAtHomeNet
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I had the same issue with my ML350 G6. After verifying the checksum, I burned the ISO to a CD & a DVD and even went so far as to make a bootable USB drive. It gave me the same error on all occasions.

They're right; this system's not on the HCL. 4.0 seems to install fine so I'll take the upgrade path and call it a day.

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JGurtz
Contributor
Contributor

A co-worker confirmed successful installation on a different DL380 G7 that has only one drive cage and thus has room for the internal DVD-ROM. A USB CD drive is, of course an option as well for servers with no optical drive. It's not ideal though; a USB stick is just much easier. Reusable media, no worry about scratches; fits in a pocket, faster...

The other option is PXE based install, which is probably the best long term solution to our needs.

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wyandotte
Contributor
Contributor

I had this same problem on supported intel mainboard with x5500 processor and using sata cdrom.  esxi 4.0 installed fine but not 4.1

I tried different cdrom drives etc....      I got it to work by changing the bios setting for the cdrom drive to EHCI from Compatibility mode and it worked perfectly.

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BwilleNTRO
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Contributor

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812200155&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle...

This is a Startech USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA adapter that worked like a charm to fix this issue. I used it with an old Liteon DVD-ROM. No headache and can use old optical drive to install. Well worth the money. Thanks to everyone with the suggestions.

ESXi 4.1 installed on: Intel DG43GT mobo with e8400 Core 2 Duo.

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was98strat
Contributor
Contributor

It's definitely a strange ESXi 4.1 install issue. I ran accross the same problem installing ESXi 4.1  on a PowerEdge 2950 g2.  The Installer kept complaining with the same error until I used an external USB  dvd drive.  It even failed to install from a bootable USB key.    The Odd thing is this exact same machine previously had ESX 4.1 installed on it without issue!!   I was even able to install ESXi 4.0 using the onboard dvd-rom drive.

I thought VMware was better than this!  an untested installer!!   and it's not like I'm running a white box.  I'm running mainstream hardware!

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BwilleNTRO
Contributor
Contributor

Just an FYI. This is my first ever run in with ESX of any kind and it took me a grand total of 2 hrs of research/loading to get this OS on a Whitebox not on the compatible device list. Yes it is an annoyance but you really dont need the optical after the OS is up and going. So why everyone is making such a big deal about the Optical drives is beyond me. If I was Vmware i wouldn't want to spend the man hours to make thousands of different optical drivers for ESXi either. Especially when the OS is free to begin with. Would be a money losser for sure. Not knocking anyone just thought i would throw this out there.

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

Much of this relates to the firmware on the optical drives or the initial boot mode of the dvd drive. I have experienced the same issues with other OS's and drives. Burn on one drive and it won't boot in another. I have experienced the same problems with movies in my bul-ray player. Movie doesn't play but an update to the player firmware and all is good.

You will always come across incompatibilities. A professional understands that and looks for ways to solve the problem.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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asatoran
Immortal
Immortal

was98strat wrote:

...installing ESXi 4.1  on a PowerEdge 2950 g2....

BTW, what's a "PowerEdge 2950 g2"?  Dell sold a PowerEdge 2950 and PowerEdge 2950 III.  HP uses "G" generation numbers.  I didn't think Dell did as well, but sometimes the exact revision of something can make a difference.  Just curious....

And while the PowerEdge 2950 and PowerEdge 2950 III are on the compatibility list for ESX 4.1, both are no longer current models, so as Dave (DSTAVERT) mentions, it could be older firmware on your optical drives.

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was98strat
Contributor
Contributor

a PowerEdge 2950 g2 is a Gen 2 ( sorry G2 is what the Dell support refer to it as)  and It's not a firmaware issue or bios issue.  it's defeinitly an installer issue in ESXi 4.1  as I mentioned I had no problem installing Full ESX 4.1 on the exact same machine.  this server was taken out of production because it does not support the 5400 processor that I needed for FT to work.     I just decided to install ESXI so that we could redeploy it into a DMZ enviroment for seom web developement work.  It letterally had ESX 4.1 installed on it a few months ago ( when it was released) and I wiped the  box when it cam out of production.

definitely an installer problem!

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