Install a guest operating system

A new virtual machine is analogous to a physical computer with an empty hard drive and without an operating system. To make your virtual machine fully functional, you need to install a guest operating system. This is usually done through vSphere Web Client by attaching a CD-ROM, DVD, or ISO image containing the installation image to the virtual CD/DVD drive.

ISO images are the recommended way to install a guest operating systems. If you want to use an ISO image to install the guest OS, you must first put it in a location that ESXi can access. Usually, ISO images are uploaded into a datastore accessible to the ESXi host on which the guest OS installation will be performed.

Here are the steps to install a guest OS using an ISO image:

1. Connect to a vCenter Server using vSphere Web Client. Go to vCenter > Hosts And Clusters. In the inventory tree, right-click the virtual machine and select the Edit Settings menu option:

virtual machine edit settings

2. From the virtual machine properties window, expand the CD/DVD drive 1 hardware option to reveal the additional properties:

virtual machine cd dvd settings

3. Change the drop-down box to Datastore ISO File, and select the Connect At Power On check box:

virtual machine cd dvd connect

4. Click the Browse button to browse a datastore for the ISO file of the guest OS:

virtual machine cd dvd browse datastore

5. Right-click the virtual machine and select Power On from the menu:

virtual machine power on

6. Right-click the virtual machine and select the Open Console option:

virtual machine open console

7. Now you can install the guest operating system, just like you would do on a physical machine.

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