Create a Bootable ESXi 8 USB Installer on macOS

With the release of vSphere 8, some of you may need a solution for creating a bootable USB installer for ESXi 8 on macOS without using a 3rd party utility. You will be happy to know that my previous blog post Create a Bootable ESXi 7 USB Installer on macOS, still works perfectly. Note this guide is based on macOS only. If you are using Windows, please use the Rufus utility instead.


  • Download the ESXi Installation ISO (I used ESXi 8.0)
  • A USB Flash Drive Minimum 8GB

Step 1

Open Terminal and list the mounted disks using the diskutil list command.

diskutil list

Step 2

Insert the USB Flash then run the diskutil list command again.

diskutil list

You should now see another disk show up, in my case disk3. Take note for the disk#.

Step 3

Now we need to format the drive with filesystem FAT32 and partition map MBR using the following command. Don’t forget to use the disk# number obtained in step 2.

diskutil eraseDisk MS-DOS "ESXI" MBR disk#

Step 4

Unmount the USB Drive, Note: This is not the same as Eject. Don’t forget to use the disk# number obtained in step 2.

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk#

Step 5

Start the command line partitoner fdisk in interactive mode (You will need administrative privileges for this).

sudo fdisk -e /dev/disk#
  1. Flag the first partition on the volume as active and bootable. “f 1
  2. Write the changes. “write
  3. Quit fdisk. “quit
f 1

Step 6

Mount the ESXi Installation ISO and copy all the contents from the ISO to the USB flash drive.

Step 7

Locate the file ISOLINUX.CFG on the flash drive and rename it SYSLINUX.CFG file.

Step 8

Edit the SYSLINUX.CFG file with TextEdit, Don’t use a Word program it will mess up the file. Find the line starting with APPEND -c boot.cfg and append -p 1 to it so it looks like the example below.

APPEND -c boot.cfg -p 1

Save and close the file and eject the USB flash drive.

Step 9

I booted the ESXi installer on my Intel NUC Skull Canyon successfully.

I hope you found this helpful. Feel free to comment if you have any questions.

One comment Add yours
  1. This worked for me for installing ESXi 8.0.0 on HP Microtower,
    Thanks a lot you just saved my day of searching thru internet and breaking my head.

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