How to add the USB NIC Fling to ESXi 7.0 Base Image

Many people are using the USB NIC Fling by William Lam and Songtao Zheng in homelabs. To make a fresh installation or upgrade as simple as possible, I've created a new Image Profile that contains the USB NIC driver.

This article explains how to create a custom ESXi 7.0 Image including the NIC driver to either upgrade previous versions of ESXi or make a fresh  ESXi installation with USB NIC support.

Create a custom ESXi 7.0 Images including the USB NIC Driver

  1. Download USB NIC Fling (ESXi700-VMKUSB-NIC-FLING-34491022-component-15873236.zip)
  2. Copy the USB NIC Driver to your build directory (eg. c:\esx\
  3. Open PowerShell
  4. (optional) Install VMware PowerCLI from the PowerShell Gallery
    Install-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI -Scope CurrentUser
  5. Change to your build directory
    cd c:\esx\
  6. Clone the original Image Profile, add the driver and export to ISO and Zip Bundle.
    Add-EsxSoftwareDepot https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
    Export-ESXImageProfile -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard" -ExportToBundle -filepath ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard.zip
    Remove-EsxSoftwareDepot https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
    Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard.zip
    Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\ESXi700-VMKUSB-NIC-FLING-34491022-component-15873236.zip
    New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-standard" -name "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-USBNIC" -Vendor "virten.net"
    Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-USBNIC" -SoftwarePackage "vmkusb-nic-fling"
    Export-ESXImageProfile -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-USBNIC" -ExportToIso -filepath ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-USBNIC.iso
    Export-ESXImageProfile -ImageProfile "ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-USBNIC" -ExportToBundle -filepath ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-USBNIC.zip
  7. You should now have two files in your build directory:
    ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-USBNIC.iso
    ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-USBNIC.zip

With the two files, you can either make a fresh ESXi 7.0 install or upgrade from previous versions.

Create a Bootable ESXi 7.0 Installer USB Flash Drive

  1. Download Rufus
  2. Connect the USB flash drive to your computer
  3. Open Rufus
  4. Select your Device
  5. Select your custom ISO file as Boot selection
  6. Do not change anything else
  7. Press START
  8. Use the Flash Drive to install ESXi 7.0

Upgrade to ESXi 7.0 with USB NIC Driver

Updating previous versions is very simple. Copy the zip bundle to a datastore and run the following command and reboot the host:

# esxcli software profile install -p ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-USBNIC -d /vmfs/volumes/[datastore]/ESXi-7.0.0-15843807-USBNIC.zip

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