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GLComputing
Contributor
Contributor

Running Win Server 2022 on ESXi 8.0 free?

Due to the requirements for vTPM needing vCentre, does this mean that using Windows Server 2022 (with its TPM requirements) is not supported on the free ESX hypervisors? Or is there a way to use TPM passthrough or some other workaround?

I use the ESXi box, currently 8.01, as a lab security test before systems go into production. It can't be connected to the corp systems. I currently have a domain with DCs, an Exchange server, and a few SQL server guests - all Win2019, and I'm the only user.

It seems I can't start testing WS2022 unless I get my boss to fork out the money or switch to WS2022 as the hypervisor.

Also, I am a bit upset that it took some hours to figure this out as there's no VMware article stating this drop in support of the current Windows operating systems by the free ESXi.

 


Mike Lazarus
Solutions Analyst
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/glcomputing/
3 Replies
Kinnison
Commander
Commander

Hello,


It would be worth saying that the Microsoft Windows server 2022 operating system does not strictly require the presence of a TPM module to be installed. For the rest I don't think there is much more to say, the requirements stated in the documentation are always the same.


Regards,
Ferdinando

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GLComputing
Contributor
Contributor

Not for some users, but I am doing security testing. Without TPM, you can't use System Guard, Device Encryption, or SecureBIO. While you can still get Bitlocker working via group policy, it's less secure.


Mike Lazarus
Solutions Analyst
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/glcomputing/
ansarabass
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Man, that's really frustrating, isn't it? VMware really should be more transparent about what's supported and what's not, especially when it comes to something as significant as Windows Server 2022. It's a real letdown to spend hours figuring this stuff out, only to hit a roadblock like this.

You're right that the vTPM feature generally requires vCenter, which is not part of the free ESXi offering. I haven't found any official workarounds for this, and most of what's out there seems to suggest upgrading to a paid version for vTPM support. That being said, you might be able to go the route of TPM passthrough if your ESXi host hardware has a physical TPM. However, this might not fully replicate the security features of a vTPM.

I guess the other option is to try to get your boss to shell out the cash for the upgrade, or maybe look into whether VMware has any academic or small-scale lab licensing that could meet your needs without breaking the bank. It's a tough situation for sure, especially when you're using this setup as a security test lab and need to maintain certain standards.

Switching to Windows Server 2022 as the hypervisor could also be an option but then you're talking about a whole different set of challenges and learning curves.

If you're running into this issue, others probably are too. It might be worth taking it up directly with VMware and asking them to be clearer about their support policies, so others don't fall into the same trap.

Good luck,

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