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Homelab - Will ESXi 6.5 run on Intel NUC?

esxi-on-5th-gen-NUC5i3MYHEVMware vSphere ESXi 6.5 is here and while you should wait to upgrade your production, it's time to explore the new features in your Homelab. I've received a few questions on whether it is safe to upgrade.

Short answer
ESXi 6.5 will run on 5th and 6th Gen NUCs just as ESXi 6.0 U2

Long answer...

Important information before upgrading to vSphere 6.5

If your Homelab runs one of the following products, please consider that the following products are not compatible with vSphere 6.5 at this time:

  • VMware NSX
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack
  • vCloud Director for Service Providers
  • vRealize Infrastructure Navigator
  • App Volumes
  • Horizon Air Hybrid-Mode
  • Integrated OpenStack
  • vCloud Networking and Security
  • vRealize Business for Cloud
  • vRealize Configuration Manager
  • vRealize Hyperic
  • vRealize Networking Insight

ESXi 6.5 on 5th/6th Gen NUC

  • Intel NUC6i7KYK (Intel Core i7-6770HQ Skull Canyon)
  • Intel NUC6i5SYH (Intel Core i5-6260U)
  • Intel NUC6i5SYK (Intel Core i5-6260U)
  • Intel NUC6i3SYH (Intel Core i3-6100U)
  • Intel NUC6i3SYK (Intel Core i3-6100U)
  • Intel NUC5i7RYH (Intel Core i7-5557U)
  • Intel NUC5i5RYH (Intel Core i5-5250U)
  • Intel NUC5i5MYHE (Intel Core i5-5300U vPro)
  • Intel NUC5i5RYK (Intel Core i5-5250U)
  • Intel NUC5i3RYH (Intel Core i3-5010U)
  • Intel NUC5i3MYHE (Intel Core i3-5010U)
  • Intel NUC5i3RYK (Intel Core i3-5010U)

The ESXi 6.5 stock image can be installed without any issues on 5th Gen and 6th Gen NUCs including the latest i7 Skull Canyon. Drivers for all onboard NICs (I218-LM, I219-LM and I219-V) are available in the stock image. Drivers for NVMe devices and any SATA AHCI controllers are also available without any customizations.

Upgrade to ESXi 6.5

Upgrade a running installation to ESXi 6.5 is very simple. Download the Offline Bundle, copy it to the datastore and run the following command:

# esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/[DATASTORE]/ -p ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard

If you are using USB NIC drivers by William Lam, refer to following guide: USB 3.0 Ethernet Adapter (NIC) driver for ESXi 6.5

Upgrade from ESXi 6.5 Beta to ESXi 6.5 GA?

Yes, it is possible to upgrade from beta versions to the final release, but it is not supported. VMware recommends to do a fresh install.

58 thoughts on “Homelab - Will ESXi 6.5 run on Intel NUC?”

    1. Not sure about the 4th Gen NUC because I dont have them anymore. Can you do a quick PCI ID lookup and post the output?

      lspci -v |grep 0200 -B1

      1. The Output is the following ;

        0000:00:19.0 Ethernet controller Network controller: Intel Corporation Ethernet Connection I218-V [vmnic0]
        Class 0200: 8086:1559

        1. This card will work with the stock image (e1000e driver):

          cat /etc/vmware/ |grep 1559
          regtype=linux,bus=pci,id=8086:1559 0000:0000,driver=e1000e,class=network

          So you don't need any additional drivers.

  1. This update process preserve image profile: (Updated) ESXi-6.0.0-20160302001-standard (VMware, Inc.) for my ESXi host. Should I do esxcli software profile install --depot=/vmfs/volumes/[DATASTORE]/ --profile=ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard and then reinstall vibs for the network cards?

  2. Hi
    So is the VM6.5 support the usb 3.1 directly without problem ? And can you passthrough a keyboard or mouse in 6.5 ? As previous released it never work without a dedicated usb add-on card, pass to the vm.

    1. It's kind of hidden:
      1. Manage > System > Autostart > Edit Settings > set Enabled = Yes
      2. Virtual Machines > Right-Click Columns > Select Columns > Activate "Autostart Order, Start Delay, Stop Delay"

  3. Before upgrade to 6.5 i've made a backup of entire esxi disk to file using Paragon Hard Disk Manager Professional 15
    I've also a previous backup done with same paragon software
    Inside this backup there's a VM that i need to recover..

    Someone know if it's possible to do it without recover all esxi disk ?

  4. Any idea how the licensing is going to play out with 6.5? With previous versions you could remove the eval license and keep using it forever, but the eval license for 6.5 is built in, so I wonder what will happen 60 days from now.

      1. Thanks for the info. I'm going to have to start following your site. I found it through some web searches last week, and it's a great site.

        I've read about not being able to power on VMs after the eval period, but I've never seen that. Is that with vCSA, or is that related to something else? I've been running a home lab ESXi server for years, and I currently run it at 6.0.2, and both that and 5.x ran in a "runs forever" mode, where everything works on a single host. I don't have vCSA, but with a solo hypervisor host, I don't need that; is the "can't power on" limitation in vCSA?


  5. I have: Intel NUC5i7RYH (Intel Core i7-5557U)

    ESXi 6.5:
    Installed: VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.5.0-4564106.x86_64.iso

    It seems network card not supported. DHCP did not get IP. Static IP not working (cannot connect from remote server).

    ESXi 6.0 U2:
    Installed: VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.0.0.update02-3620759.x86_64.iso

    Installer does not found SSD disk.

  6. Hey there. Just to share my experience with a NUC6i5SYH. My first try of the upgrade from ESXi6.0-latest to 6.5-GA failed in that manner, that the upgrade itself was successfull, but I could start any of my VMs afterwards. So I did a "Shift-R" to my previous version. But in order to be some time able to upgrade to v6.5, my error was:

    2016-11-26T15:06:18.673Z cpu0:67673 opID=c3f5bb42)World: 12230: VC opID vim-cmd-57-39e6-39e7 maps to vmkernel opID c3f5bb42
    2016-11-26T15:06:18.673Z cpu0:67673 opID=c3f5bb42)Config: 706: "SIOControlFlag2" = 1, Old Value: 0, (Status: 0x0)
    2016-11-26T15:06:18.678Z cpu3:67852)WARNING: User: 4530: vmx: Error in initial cartel setup: Failed to open /bin/vmx: Operation not permitted
    2016-11-26T15:06:18.680Z cpu1:66740)Config: 706: "SIOControlFlag2" = 0, Old Value: 1, (Status: 0x0)

    Does anyone have a clue on this one?

    PS: Uhh, while I'm writing: I have run the macos-x-unlocker on the host
    for being able to run MacOS in a VM as well.

    Might be worth a try uninstalling that first. Will post a follow-up!

    Best regards,

    1. Register for free ESXi or use the only repository:

      # esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
      # esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard -d
      # esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
      # reboot

  7. Hi,

    Intel Nuc 6i7 works with esxi 6.5.

    But after update there is no Bluetoothadapter found, and there are some usb passthrough Problems.



    1. ESXi 6.5 has a new USB driver (vmkusb) which might be the issue. You can disable it

      # esxcli system module set -m=vmkusb -e=FALSE
      # reboot

    2. Hi,

      Intel Nuc 6i7 works with esxi 6.5.

      But after update there is no Bluetoothadapter found, and there are some usb passthrough Problems."

      Hi, I also can confirm that no Bluetooth adapter was found on my Intel 8260. I did discover that I could passthrough the onboard GPU (Iris Pro Graphics 580)to Windows 10 64bit but, even though the graphics driver installed OK, so far I can't get any screen to function on any port. Interestingly, Quicksync is working fine as I ran a few Handbrake encodes with Quicksync enabled that ran VERY well.

  8. Hi
    I did upgrade my NUC6i5SYH from 6.0 to 6.5, upgrade worked fine but when I try to start my guests again I get the following error
    Transport (VMDB) error -45: Failed to connect to peer process.

    Anyone knows why?


    1. Which Client did you use to power on the VM? vCenter or Standalone ESXi? Since vSphere 6.5 the c# Client still works with the ESXi Host itself but many features are missing/buggy. With 6.5 you should use the Host Client (https:///ui/)
      Do all VMs have the same problem, or just one?
      Check vmware.log in the VM directory and /var/log/vmkernel.log for errors.

      1. Standalone, I only have the free license

        It´s the same problem for all my VMs, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, CentOS, and a scanner based on linux, don´t know which
        I did try to install a new VM but got the same error message

        I´m using the gui to start the VM, did try the client as well but got the same message

  9. I tried to install 6.5 stock on my NUC5i3RYH. After I tell it to install to the SSD I get "errno 3: No such process" and that the system is waiting for the installation to begin. Any ideas? I'm not finding any hints anywhere.
    From what is said on the page here there should be no issue with the stock image without any special changes. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?

    1. I'm getting exactly he same issue on my NUC5i5RYH:

      ------ An unexpected error has occurred ------
      See logs for details

      ProcessLookupError: [Errno 3] No such process

      I've tried using both legacy boot and UEFI boot on the DVD with no success. It's really odd because I was able to install from exactly he same DVD (in the same USB drive) on my NUC5i7RYH just a week before. Both NUCs are even sporting the same 500GB Samsung Evo 850 SATA SSD.

      1. The one thing I hadn't tried was checking the bios for an update. Sure enough I had version 0130 Dec 2014, and 0361 is the newest version from Dec 2016. I updated and the installer proceeded without any trouble.

    1. Hello I also have this NUc myself but I cannot install Wifi on it. anybody with a solution to have WIFIadapter of the NUC recognized by ESXi?

  10. I installed 6.5 ESXi at Asrock J3455 ITX.
    There is "no network adapter" problem ;), but you can resolve it with "ESXi-Customizer"
    Price is less then NUC.

  11. Driver works great. i have a different cosmetic issue. when directly connected to esx, i can configure an intel nic to the vswitch , but not the usb nic. thought to check and see if anyone has seen this.

  12. I am debating if i should spend more and go a generation older to get the NUC5i5MYHE to get Vpro. Vpro is nearly a must have and I am thinking it might be worth going older and slower (and more money) to get it. Anyone have any opinion?

  13. I just installed 6.5 on a new NUC6i5SYH which has a 275gb crucial m.2 ssd. it installed fine and seemed to install at normal speeds. now though its horribly slow, something is up with either the ssd or drivers or something. i tried to upload an iso and it took forever, max i could get was like 20mbit. i assumed it was an issue with http upload to the datastore. but now i am trying to install the OS (window 2012 r2) and its taking forever at getting files ready for installation. i am seeing extremely high latency and max speeds of around 5MB/s with the latency constantly over 100ms (way too high for an ssd). I dont know if its my nuc, my ssd, or 6.5 issue. I will start diagnosing one by one. anyone else have this kind of issue with m.2 ssd with 6.5 on nuc6i5?

  14. I am installing 6.5 downloaded from my VMUG EVALExperience account on a Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK on a SANDisk Ultra Flair USB3.0.

    When booting up ESXi 6.5 I am receiving "Error loading /onetime.tgz"
    Fatal error: 15 (Not found).

    I have disabled all the required settings as per recommendations here. Has anyone encountered this issue before?

    1. This error is usually caused by problems with the flash drive or iso file. Download the ISO again and try another usb flash drive.

  15. Unfortunately, I do not get to install ESXI on the INTEL NUC: NUC6i5SYH with a Samsung SM951 M.2 MSATA 256GB HIGH SP.
    The installation will stay at 9% what can I do? If I install ESXI on a 2.5 inch ssd then the installation goes smoothly.

    I would like some help.

    Regards Cor

  16. 20170711, Thank you for posting this very useful information.
    Have you tried VMware ESXi 6.5 on the NUC797BNH and/or NUC797BNHX1?

    These use i7-7567u CPU and may have newer hardware for Wi-Fi and storage, board, and ports.

    Looking for answers if the drivers you mentioned will still work automatically with the VMware ISO install?

    Thank you for any accurate reply.

  17. Hi,

    I'm getting an "Error loading /onetime.tgz" after installation and removal of the USB drive, when booting from the SSD. Anyone know what causes this?

  18. Trying to install via the online depot, the update option fails to make any changes. Changing this to "install" throws a warning that it will replace two VIBs, specifically 'VFrontDe_bootbank_sata-xahci_1.28-1' & 'VMware_bootbank_lsu-lsi-mptsas-plugin_1.0.0-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585'. These are the custom drivers I needed to install when first setting this machine up. Is there an issue with overwriting? Based on your article, I am assuming no but am hesitant to proceed. Thoughts?

    1. Are there other drivers that you've replaced beside the vFront xahci package? The xahci package is no longer required in ESXi 6.5. Also, if you Update to ESXi 6.5 U1, all NUC NICs are included.

      It should be safe to remove those drivers. If anything goes wrong, you can revert to the previous version as explained here: (Requires physical access).

  19. Great resource gents!!

    I need some help with my NUC ESXi 6.5 issue. I have a Skull Canyon and I am running 6.5 Well, but I needed another nic and got one of the mentioned usb3 nics for the NUC. I downloaded William Lam's driver and had no problem installing it. However when using it, after a period of time. The nic goes dead!! Even when ESXi reports it functioning, I am not able to use it. The only way to bring the USB3 nic back up is to shutdown everything and power cycle it back up. I tried an alternate driver using the same chipset and still the same issue. I thought that the USB was being powered down, but the BIOS is not using any sleep mode or power down modes. I am at my wits on this one and any help would be appreciated.

  20. Hi,

    I have a problem with the upgrade from 6.0 to 6.5.

    After entering the command:
    [root@esxi:~] esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/Images/ -p ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-stand

    I get the error:
    No image profile found with name 'ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard'
    id = ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard
    Please refer to the log file for more details.

    For what is the placeholder(?) ESXi-6.5.0-4564106-standard?


    (Intel NUC 6.Gen. i5-6260U)

  21. Hi All,
    apologies if the question has been posted before.
    In a Nutshell: Fresh install of

    vSphere 6.5u1
    vCenter 6.5u1g
    NUC 6i5SYH
    Custom USB network drivers (realtek r8153)

    Problem: after adding the NUC host to vDS the Management Network randomly disconnects and iSCSI adapter goes offline.

    I was using exactly same configuration in VMware 6.0u3

    Has anyone seen this behaviour? can anyone help? I literally cannot run my homelab..

    Any question/log let me know

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