When you try to install ESXi 7.0 with a USB NIC only, the installation fails at 81% with the following error message:
Exception: No vmknic tagged for management was found.
Some homelab systems like the Intel 10th Gen NUC are not equipped with a compatible network adapter. As a workaround, you can use a USB NIC and create a customized image to install ESXi. The installation fails as the ESXi installer can't assign the USB NIC as a management adapter because it specifically searches for a "vmnic#", not "vusb#" adapter.
This article explains how to proceed with the 81% installation error and get the system to work.
- If not already, create a Customized Image as explained here.
- Start the installation and wait until it fails at 81%
- At this point, ESXi is already installed, but not configured.
- Remove the installation media and reboot the system
- When ESXi is loaded, press F2 and login as "root" without password. (The password entered during the installation has not been saved because the configuration failed)
- You should notice that all Network Options are greyed out. Select Network Restore Options.
- Select Restore Network Settings
- Log out
- Log back in
- Network options are no longer greyed out and the vusb0 adapter has been detected