Installing VMware ESXi 5.5 on the Gigabyte Brix


This article covers the steps required to install VMware ESXi 5.5 on the Gigabyte Brix, and a few other systems that use non-supported NICs that worked in ESXi 5.1.

brix running esxi 5.5


The driver for the Realtek RTL8111E gigabit NIC was included in the default ESXi 5.1 install ISO. Sadly, with the release of ESXi 5.5, the driver is no longer included, so we have to add it ourselves.

The good news is that this is fairly easy, and should also allow anyone with an RTL8111 NIC or a RTL8168 NIC to install VMware ESXi 5.5 successfully. I can confirm it works on the Gigabyte Brix.


You will need PowerCLI 5.5


Here’s what I did, using PowerCLI:

Note, you may need to run this command from PowerCLI before running the above (Thanks to Tom for mentioning this in the comments!):

Per Andreas Peetz’s excellent post on upgrading, there may be other non-supported driver bundles you’d like to install in addition to net-r8168, though I have not tested these:

  • net-r8169
  • net-sky2
  • net-s2io

Update 2013-09-24: Andreas just released a new post that covers adding support for all the missing unsupported drivers.

After running the commands above PowerCLI will start downloading the offline bundle from and then write the ISO file to your selected destination.

Next, I used Unetbootin to write that ISO file to a USB stick, and then booted from the USB stick to install ESXi 5.5.

What did those PowerCLI commands do?

Here’s roughly what you just ran:

  1. Add VMware’s repository
  2. Make a copy of the image called ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-standard and clone that to a new image called ESXi-5.5.0-1331820-GigabyteBrix
  3. Add the net-r8168 driver, which is stilll on VMware’s servers, but not in the standard ESXi 5.5 install.
  4. Export the custom image to an ISO file


This took me quite a while to research, as I had no idea at the time that the r8168 driver provided the RTL8111E driver too (and I had no way to double-check as my Brix was at home :)). Fortunately, VMware still seem to provide the net-r8168 VIB on their repository, so while it’s easy to fix, it’s a shame that VMware have removed the driver in 5.5.


By Phil Wiffen

Phil is an IT Professional working in Cambridge, England. He generally blogs about useful solutions that he comes across in his work/play.

49 replies on “Installing VMware ESXi 5.5 on the Gigabyte Brix”

Useful tip: you would need to initially run the following command in PowerCLI if you have not set it up before:

Add-PSSnapin VMware.ImageBuilder

This will allow you to build an image.

Nevertheless, very useful post. Cheers!

Thanks Tom. Curiously, I didn’t need to do this, and I didn’t have a previous PowerCLI install on my system before installing PowerCLI 5.5. Perhaps it’s because I have PowerShell 3.0 installed?

Do you know in what situation you do need to do this?

Hi Moka, I don’t know (yet) how to obtain the drivers directly, as I’m pretty new to all this. Do you know how I can do that? I imagine it’s as simple as getting the URI for the driver vib, but I haven’t looked too much into it yet.

I was looking into extracting vib files for Realtek from 5.1 ISO as well but did not research it properly on how to get them out. Thanks for the links.

Re the power CLI, I was simply getting the below error message, which turned out to be caused by missing reference to the VmwareBuilder.
The term ‘Add-EsxSoftwareDepot’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.
At line:1 char:21
+ Add-EsxSoftwareDepot <<<<
+ CategoryInfo : ObjectNotFound: (Add-EsxSoftwareDepot:String) []
, CommandNotFoundException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : CommandNotFoundException


I found this post after searching for a fix for my home lab with RTL8111E onboard. =) I’m trying to get to 5.5, but I think I had the same issue. I’m having trouble following your steps however. Is there a way to download the appropriate VIB directly somewhere?

Seems like we have multiple Toms building the vmWare lab 🙂 Thanks for including my comment in the post 🙂 Cheers.

Hi Phil,
Thanks for the post and link to Andreas post.
I tried to upgrade an HP ML 115 G5 which has quite happily been running 5.1 to 5.5 and it hung during the boot process.
I suspected it was a lack of a driver, but I didn’t know where to start – so you have given me a start.
Out of interest, what were the symptoms of drivers being missing, ? Did the system fail to boot, or did it just not give you a NIC once the server booted ?

Hi Rich, the symptoms for me were very obvious: When I booted the vanilla ESXi 5.5 ISO (from a USB stick) the installer told me I didn’t have any valid NICs and refused to continue to install. After injecting the drivers with the method above, it let me install without the warning.

You can upgrade your 5.1 install and retain your existing drivers from the command line with this method:

Great post. Is there a way to add it to an existing 5.5 install without injecting it into the ISO and then reinstalling?


Not that I know of Deep, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible, just that I’m not familiar with it. If you re-install it should give you the option to upgrade which will keep your settings, if that’s your concern?

This post saved me days for installing on MSI Z87I, its also used Realtek 8111G.
Also another 0.5 day search & trying finally I realized that the OnBoard RAID Port will never work nor stable with ESXi.

Might help others.

Gigabyte Brix Haswell (bx-i5-4200U) hangs on boot at “initializing IOV”. Seems to be a common haswell issue.

Tried ESXi 5.0, 5.1 (various update), and 5.5. Going to start scouring ways around it. Nothing in BIOS F2 or F4 seems to allow me to work around it. Tried to disable VT to no avail.

If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears. 🙂

Hmmm… Interestingly enough, the gigabyte brix PRO has an i5-4570s. Faster processor. Maybe this one I should try for my home vmware rig.

So, the Haswell Gigabyte Brix (bx-i5-4250U) is a No-Go because of the missing VT-d and the stuck condition at “Initializing IOV” — the 3rd gen i5 seems to have it. Weird that intel chose that path of having VT-x but not VT-d. I guess they needed to cut “somewhere”

I’ll go grab the new Gigabyte Brix Pro with the i5-4570R *(not s). The 4570R has the VT-d built in. I’ll confirm the ethernet support in esxi 5.5 and report back if it actually works. they have color choices too, so an High Availability strategy at home can be cool sounding (“Red side and black side” when describing it).

I finally bought the same Brix as Phil.
But I’m very courious about John’s Brix Pro. The CPU inside is a 65 W TDP i5 !!!
I’m afraid it would overheat or make noise if there is fans.
BTW Phil, you can remove mini-pci card if it’s not done already. Maybe 0,5 or 1 W power gain. But maybe we can passthrough this to a VM …

Yeah I saw that. Still haven’t pulled the trigger. The i5/i7 haswell is a better processor performance wise than ivy bridge but the ultra mobile that gigabyte is using is missing vt-d I think you’re right, though, the quieter fans in the non pro would be best. I don’t need the drive slot as I’ll just use nfs from my nas

I saw on YouTube a fan test of the brix and it wasn’t too bad

I guess the performance loss for the small size isn’t so bad

Hi everybody,

Does anyone knows if the new GB-BXi7-4770R has VT-d support?
Any experience with it?


So I asked the vmware forums for suggestions and they suggested this one. Since I don’t have the haswell brix any more, I can’t try it. But for everyone else who lands here from a google search…

At the esxi boot it was suggested to do this —

At install hit shift + o then type noIOMMU. This will disable VT

I just got a Brix GB-BXi5-4200U and could not install any version of ESXi (tried 5.0, 5.1, and 5.5). I have using BIOS F5 but have tried F4 and F3.

The lack of VT-d is something I can get past by adding “noiommu” to kernelopts.

However, 5.0 and 5.1 hang on “Initializing ACPI” and nothing I do in BIOS fixes it. Adding “noACPI” to kernerlopts does not help.

ESXi 5.5 U1 does NOT hang on “Initializing ACPI” but hangs immediately after on “Initializing Storage Stack”.

I followed instructions to add 3rd party drivers including sata-ahci but that did not solve the issue either.

I am thinking about getting the latest i7 Brix Pro, but I don’t want to end up putting hours into a dead end.

Has anyone made an i5-4200U work with ESX 5.5? How?

Vt-d isn’t supported on the ultra mobile haswell

Add the option noiommu (I think) to the boot options to disable esxi

I have a BRIX i7 -4770R 16G and 240msata booting off a thumb drive with custom vib added to 5.5 iso finally got it to recognize the thumb drive after i disabled EFI support in bios. now it hands at Initializing storage Stack so i upgraded BIOS to f4… and i have hit a “BRIX” wall pardon the pun….Any ideas? gigabyte support has run out of ideas…

To Michael McDonnell:
I have installed ESXi 5.5u1 on my BRIX GB-BXi3H-4010.
I disable “Launch CSM” parameter in “Boot/CSM parameters” BIOS menu.
No any boot options was needed.
Also no any other version ESXi was successfully installed..

Disabling “Launch CSM” was the part I was missing, THANKS!

After I disabled that, I needed to do a few things that are already documented on this site:

1) I had to make a custom boot image that contained the Network device driver AND support for my mSATA controller
2) I had to add “noiommu” to the boot options because I don’t have VT-D on this model
3) I had to make a boot CD… boot USB failed every time (probably a UEFI issue).

It worked like a charmed after that.

>Michael McDonnell
Hi Michael. I’m in almost same situation as you.
Could you help me?

My device env
[Core i7-4500U]
[MZ-MTE250B/IT Samsung SSD 840 EVO with mSATA]
[Standard SO-DIMM PC3L-12800 8GB x 2]

and I want to run [VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.5.0.update01-1623387.x86_64]

when I boot ESXi with [noIOMMU] Option, it hang on “Initializing Storage Stack”.
then I tried [Disabling “Launch CSM”]

but after Disabling,
I could not boot with any devices. (USB boot / inner SATA with 2.5 inch HDD)
even mSATA Drive was disappeared from Boot menu on BIOS

I want to try with “Network device driver AND support” next but
I have to buy CD/DVD drive for this challenge

so I want ask you.
Did you use CD/DVD Drive for boot CD?
How did you connect USB or SATA?


I fall into the same boat as well. I have had an ongoing conversation with Gagabye support they have sent me snapshots etc of a successful install on the Brix 4770 and after a month they finally reveal to me that it must be installed with a external mass storage device with CSM disabled… ugh I will be purchasing an external DVD on the 15th or so and will post the results…. what a frustrating angry little BRIX!

When you disable “Launch CSM” in BIOS, you will only have the option to boot EFI devices.

I was able to boot an external DVD with the ESXi 5.5 installer disc.

However, even when you get that far you will find that the default ESXi 5.5 boot disc does not contain all the drivers needed to complete the install. You have to make a custom boot DVD.

I first used the instructions from this webpage to use PowerCLI to create a boot disc with the correct network drivers. I then customized that new boot DVD image using ESXi-Customizer-v2.7.2.exe. I had to add support for the mSATA controller. I used the instruction found at ESXi-Customizer WILL create an EFI boot disc.

After that, as long as I used “noIOMMU” as a kernel option, and booted from an external DVD drive, and had a DVD disc that had an EFI bootable image… everything worked.

I followed all of the instructions listed above, except I was booting from a USB flash drive created by rufus. I needed to overcome a few more problems to install ESXi 5.5:
1. The USB would not boot until I enabled CSM Legacy Only (note you may need to reboot a few time to make all of these changes stick):
a. Press delete as soon as you see the BRIX PC screen. This will get you into the BIOs settings.
b. Arrow over to Boot menu and change all Boot Options to disabled except for your USB flash drive.
c. Arrow down to CSM and press enter.
d. Enable – Launch CSM also set Boot option filter to Legacy Only, then press esc to go back to the main menu.
e. Choose Hard Drive BBS Priorities, make the USB flash drive = Boot Option #1.

2. The install would start to load and always hang on the yellow screen with a message “initializing storage stack” while it was loading. I think this was due to a missing AHCI drivers. I follow the links above to make my install disk with the extra drivers and added sata-xahci-1.20-1.x86_64.vib to my iso using ESXi-Customizer-v2.7.2. I used rufus to write the new ISO to a USB flash drive.

Here are my specs:
Brix Pro GB-BXi7-4770R (M4HM87P-00) with F4 bios version.
mSATA: Crucial_CT240M500SSD3
Memory: 16GB – G.SKILL DDR3L-1600 PC3L-12800 8192MB x2

>>The install would start to load and always hang on the yellow screen with a message “initializing storage stack” while it was loading. I think this was due to a missing AHCI drivers. I follow the links above to make my install disk with the extra drivers and added sata-xahci-1.20-1.x86_64.vib to my iso using ESXi-Customizer-v2.7.2.<<

Hello rrockoff,

I've got the same Brix model, but it still hangs at the initializing storage stack prompt. Have you done anything else or just added the custom driver?



the one thing that really made a difference for me was to get into the BIOS “boot” screen and disable the boot option to boot from either my mSATA or my Hard Drive. I know this sounds backwards from what most people would think. It seems this option only enables or disables devices for boot. It does not have anything to do with access to the SATA controller.

I ran into a new issue that I am unable to find an answer via google search. As stated previously, I have “rolled my own” ESXi 5.5 iso, to include drivers for net-r8168, net-r8169, net-sky2, net-s2io, and ata-xahci-1.20-1.x86_64.vib.
Everything seems to work for a few minutes after boot until ESXi seems to go into sleep mode where the screen color changes from yellow to white on black. As soon as this happens, I lose access to the ethernet port. I am unable to ping it from the outside. I am not sure if this is coincidence, or the slepp mode is causing the issue. I have tried using the iso created from this website as well as the iso created from Andreas Peetz’s website mentioned at the top of this webpage. I have also tried setting up a static IP address vs DHCP, both give the same symptom. I have come to the conclusion that the sleep mode and loss of IP are related by creating a ping -t from a remote system and watching the ESXi screen. as soon as the screen changes from yellow to black the ping comes back with destination unreachable.

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I would be very happy to give it a try.

I successfully installed ESXi 5.5u1 customized into my recently bought BRIX 4010. btw boot with usb flash drive

my built:
BIOS/BOOT/CSM —Disabled enabled whenever u need to boot other stuff(but meantime can’t boot esxi)
esxi 5.5u1 + 8111nic(must) + 3rd party sata nic (don’t know) = iso–>usb thumb

so i3-4010U DO have I/O direct passthrough and it seems to be turned on successfully

new to this field 😉

WOW! I just have to say THANK YOU!
Through a combination of your post and a bunch of other things I managed to get ESXi loaded on my i3-4200U. I had to put a whole bunch of boot options in order to get it to work (and subsequently in the boot.cfg after installation), but it’s working.
I have the i3-4200U with a Samsung mSATA SSD. I turned off CSM in the BIOS and booted the CD via UEFI. Boot options I used were “noIOMMU noapic apci=off noapci apic=off ignoreHeadless=TRUE” (I don’t know exactly which acpi option is needed as I’ve seen all of them throughout my googling, and now that it’s installed, I’m not going to do trial and error)
Those boot options got me to the installation screens, but I had no drive available. I added the mSATA support from the drivers available at
After that, everything went smoothly! I’m beyond thrilled at this point!
Now I get to have the wonderful joy of figuring out which services I have running on my physical 2003Server box I’m looking to retire into a VM 🙂

Great news Russ! Full credit to everyone who’s been collectively figuring this all out on the newer Brix systems in the comments. Thanks for being awesome and collaborating!

Hi Slim/Slimer, I just checked the vmware community link and it looks like you’ve resolved the issue. I think others have figured out various workarounds for the newer Brix systems in the comments, and have been awesome by keeping everyone updated. Hopefully you found their contributions useful with your problem.

I am having a similar problem that most of you have faced…I can’t get this brick 4770 to boot off the usb. I have tested it in a laptop, and it boots fine, but I am missing something in the BIOS of this brick that keeps it from booting from the usb. I am either getting an error that says “error: 32 (syntax)”, which is related to not enabling CSM and setting to legacy only, or I get a message that says reboot and insert bootable media and insert bootable media and press any key to continue (something like this). Any help would be greatly appreciated as I’m pretty much stuck at this point. You can also contact me offline at davidbass570 at gmail.

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