Use MBR disk in ESXi 5

From ESXi 5.0, if you install ESXi to a empty hard disk, the target disk will be prepared with GPT-based partitions. That may cause some boot delay or even boot problem in some desktop motherboards.
Fortunately, you can use MBR mode instead of GPT.

1 Make a clean hard disk for ESXi. You can use any method to delete all partitions on that disk.
2 Boot with ESXi CD. During initial installation step, press Shift-O (letter, not number zero) when prompted (right down corner).
3 Type a space and “formatwithmbr” (without quotation marks). Press enter.
4 Go on setup. ESXi will make the target disk prepared with MBR-based partitions instead of GPT.

16 thoughts on “Use MBR disk in ESXi 5

  1. Hi,
    I have lost my MBR after update from version 5.0 to 5.1 Now start is only possible by using Install CD with “boot from disk”-option. The updated system (5.1.1) works fine and I don’t want to reinstall it completely via this option (Shift-O). Is any other possibility to repair of MBR only?
    Thank you in advance.

  2. Hm – tried it quite several times – everytime after 10% of the installation progress, the installation fails with an error message:

    Unable to successfully execute ‘retryWrites’ after 3 tries.
    Installation cannot continue

    Any ideas?

    1. I got the same error. I re-formatted with the HP USB Disk Storage FOrmatter, and then formatted it AGAIN with Rufus (check sourceforge) and ran the 2 pass pattern verification, which passed. Tried to install again, and went smoothly. Best of luck.

    2. Another possible reason is: you’re using a CDRW for installation media. Try to use CD-R or network boot instead.

      I dont know the reason. Actually, I never succeeded install ESXi from CDRW media. I know all data is correct. Even trying to install with one CDR copied from this CDRW is successful.

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