balubeto
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

[WS10] USB bootable stick

Hi

With Workstation 10.x, it is possible to install an OS from a USB stick with the standard or UEFI BIOS?

Thanks

Bye

balubeto
19 Replies
dariusd
Leadership
Leadership

Hi Balubeto,

You might be able to pass the USB stick through as a physical disk -- i.e. create a virtual SATA hard drive and use the USB device as the physical backing for that device.  (I tried this on my Debian 7 host just now and couldn't get it to work... in fact I couldn't create any physical-backed virtual HDDs... I may file a bug report for that... Smiley Sad)

You can also try using the Plop boot manager to boot from the USB device using BIOS firmware.

UEFI virtual firmware is not officially supported in Workstation 10, but it should work and should handle USB boot if your guest OS supports UEFI (64-bit Vista SP1 or newer, 32-bit Windows 8 or newer, varied Linux distributions from within the last few years, Solaris 11.1 or newer).

Cheers,

--

Darius

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balubeto
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Using the UEFI, how do I boot an OS from a USB stick?

Thanks

Bye

balubeto
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WoodyZ
Immortal
Immortal

balubeto wrote: Using the UEFI, how do I boot an OS from a USB stick?

Try the following...

Set the, unsupported in VMware Workstation, firmware = "efi" option in the .vmx configuration file and then start the Virtual Machine from VM > Power > Power On to BIOS and connect the USB Drive.  When the Boot Manager screen appears select Boot Manager > EFI USB Device then press Enter then select Continue and press Enter.

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continuum
Immortal
Immortal

the big question is - which bootloader do you use ?
If you do not know - tell us what files you have in the root of the usb-device

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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balubeto
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

So if I create an USB bootable stick of Windows 7 SP1, how do I start and complete the installation?

Thanks

Bye

balubeto
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WoodyZ
Immortal
Immortal

balubeto wrote: So if I create an USB bootable stick of Windows 7 SP1, how do I start and complete the installation?

Have you heard of Google and tried using it to search for the answer?!  Because it's out there, having already been asked and answered ad nauseam! Smiley Wink

I already told you what needs to be done from the VMware side of this and the rest is a Windows issue not a VMware issue.

Here's a synopsis of how I installed Windows 7 x64 from a USB Thumb Drive using UEFI and GPT...

Format the USB Thumb Drive FAT32 and set the boot flag. (I did this in GParted.)

Copy the contents of the Windows 7 x64 ISO Image to the USB Thumb Drive.

Copy the [USB]\efi\microsoft\boot folder to: [USB]\efi\boot

From an existing Windows 7 install, copy C:\Windows\Boot\EFI\bootmgfw.efi to: [USB]\efi\boot\bootx64.efi

Create a Windows 7 x64 VM, not using Easy Install, and then add the, unsupported in VMware Workstation, firmware = "efi" option to the.vmx configuration file and then start the Virtual Machine from VM > Power > Power On to BIOS and connect the USB Drive.  When the Boot Manager screen appears select Boot Manager > EFI USB Device then press Enter then select Continue and press Enter.

Once at Install Windows press Shift+F10, then at the Command Prompt type diskpart.  Next type list disk to list the disks and then type select disk n to select the disk with number n that you're going to install Windows to.  Next type clean to clear the partition table, then type convert gpt to create a GUID Partition Table.  Now type exit to leave diskpart and then close the Command Prompt window.

Now install Windows while only selecting the HDD to install to and do not change any of its settings.

Once installed you should see there's an EFI System Partition at the head of the HDD in Disk Management.

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OscarDavey
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Hello,

If you have mounted your USB drive to guest OS,

Just start Gest OS and then perss ESC to choose Boot From What.

Hope will help.

Your Oscar

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continuum
Immortal
Immortal

@ OscarDavey

please do all of us a favour - before you post something test it yourself

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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warring
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

try plop boot manager

VCP510-DCV
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WoodyZ
Immortal
Immortal

warring wrote: try plop boot manager

In the very first reply in this thread dariusd already said "You can also try using the Plop boot manager to boot from the USB device using BIOS firmware."! Smiley Wink

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scerazy
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Workstation 11, plop 5.0.0.15, Intel(R) USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller driver version: 1.0.10.255

Seems that plop only works if USB is set to 2.0 & physical USB device is 2.0 only.

Trying to use fixed disk USB 3 stick (which boots fine in any physical machine):

1)  USB 3 stick in USB 3 port(s) on the host (W7 x64) with  USB 3 compatibility = plop does not find boot device, as Plop Boot Manager has no USB 3.0 drivers Smiley Sad

2)  USB 3 stick in USB 3 port(s) on the host (W7 x64) with  USB 2 compatibility = warning: The device 'XXX' was unable to connect to its ideal host controller. An attempt will be made to connect this device to the available host controller. This might result in undefined behavior for this device.

And Plop boot process hangs at Port 1: Device Connected


3)  USB 3 stick in USB 3 port(s) on the host (W7 x64) with  USB 1.1 compatibility = warning: The device 'XXX' was unable to connect to its ideal host controller. An attempt will be made to connect this device to the available host controller. This might result in undefined behavior for this device.

And Plop boot does not find boot device (same as in 1 above)


Anybody else could check if that is the case?


Thanks


Seb

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scerazy
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I did manage to get it working by connecting USB3 stick to USB3 host port in USB2 compatibility port via USB2 hub

It works (boots) very slow, but works

Seb

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scerazy
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Well, do not know about W10 (as do not use it any longer), but for W11 USB3 boot works just fine (same as VBox+VMUSBBoot), as per comments from Starla | 16/01/2015

on e2b forum - http://www.easy2boot.com/forum/ , which is now also in Tutorial 04

As for VMwareWks11 (I've not tested previous versions) + E2B removable USB drive. I've been using VBox+VMUSBBoot for my E2B tests, but had to try VMware because it supports UEFI boot to Windows OSes. However according to your articles there was the USB boot limited support (read only via Plop, USB 2.0 boot speed because of no Plop xHCI driver).

Well WMwareWks offers native USB 3.0 boot support in *UEFI* mode, by powering the VM up to firmware and choosing boot device accordingly. Well, that's the VMware claim. What they don't say is that USB storage connected to USB 3.0 ports are supported only for certain USB 3.0 controllers (my Etron is not one of them).

Anyway I've found a way to get both BIOS and UEFI USB 3.0 boot support, read *and* write on VMwareWks11 by applying the same approach as VMUSBBoot does for VBox.

1. Ensure that VMware USB Arbitration service is running. Sidenote: this is the only "VMware" service that needs to be running unless you require network access from your installed guest OSes or being able to run your VMs from a remote computer (o_0).

2. Connect your E2B drive to USB 3.0 port on host computer.

3. Start VMware, select your VM of choice and open its settings window.

3. Under Hardware tab, click Add and select New HDD. Follow the wizard. The key choices are using "SCSI type" (using "SATA type" throws an error at the end of the process, and I've not tested "IDE type") *and* using a Physical disk instead of creating a virtual drive. You need to select the "physicaldrive" from a list. You can find the one that belongs to your E2B drive by running CMD->diskpart->list disk. Finally you will be asked to create (I don't know why) a virtual disk (.vmdk file). Create it wherever you want, it will stay at 1 kB in size, so don't worry.

4. After finishing the Add HDD wizard, a new SCSI HDD will be listed on your VM hardware. Select it and click on Advanced button on the right. Ensure the disk is "Independent" and changes are "applied inmmediately". Not sure if this step is required, but I think this will be the fastest and more straightforward way to go.

5. Depending on your needs, enable or disable the EFI firmware for your VM.

6. Power on your VM *to the firmware* (important). Be sure your boot priority is set to the E2B "SCSI HDD". After that initial config you can simply power on the VM.

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qhash
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Is it supported for the ' firmware = "efi" ' attribute to be changed after the VM is run for the first time? I am trying to test some scenarios with bootable rescue CDs and I need to know whether some problems I do actually encounter are to be expected or they are just WS feature?

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dariusd
Leadership
Leadership

Hi qhash,

An OS that is installed through BIOS will only boot through BIOS (not through our EFI), and an OS that is installed through EFI will likewise only boot through EFI and not through BIOS.  For the purpose of running rescue/backup/imaging tools and so forth, you can change between BIOS and EFI, as long as you remember to change back afterwards.

Let me know if you are encountering any unexpected issues with this.

Cheers,

--

Darius

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qhash
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thank you for your reply. I understand how EFI is different from legacy mode. Nevertheless thank you for confirmation. As for my previous post, it seems that after 2nd restart of my VM, classicaly mounted MBR iso booted just fine. I have some problem with file in it, but thats another story.

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scerazy
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

@Darius, sorry man but that is not totally true. One can have dial boot iso, which will boot whatever the system is set to boot from first

Seb

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dariusd
Leadership
Leadership

Right, there's an important distinction between an installed OS and an OS on removable media.  An installed OS (as in the first sentence of my post) is installed with a particular firmware type and will only work through that same firmware type (unless there is some quirky OS out there which installs both legacy and EFI bootloaders... maybe ESXi :smileysilly:).  The second sentence of my post referenced removable media, as is the case for most rescue/backup/imaging tools as well as "live USB" sticks, which can be made bootable through both BIOS and EFI.

There's no problem with changing between BIOS and EFI for the purpose of running OSes/installers from removable media, but if you have an OS installed and you change the firmware type, you'll need to change it back before that installed OS can be expected to boot.

Hope this helps with understanding!

--

Darius

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segaszivos
Contributor
Contributor

I was able to install Win10 on VMware Workstation blank VMDK by setting the VM to EFI and attaching the USB bootable stick to the VM. You have to mount the USB device manually. It doesn't automatically passthrough to the child VM.

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