FREE VIDEO: How to run VMware ESX Server 3i Beta inside VMware Workstation

by David Davis on September 22, 2007

Looking for information on running  vSphere 4 inside Workstation? Checkout:

Running VMware ESXi 4 / vSphere in VMware Workstation – VIDEO

VMware recently released their new VMware ESX Server 3i Beta at the VMworld conference. This is a very cool, high performance, virtualization operating system that runs directly on the hardware. Now, you can learn how to virtualize it for testing and demo purposes by running VMware ESX Server 3i Beta on your existing PC OS, inside VMware Workstation! Take a look!

How to run VMware ESX Server 3i Beta inside VMware Workstation

Requirements – VMware ESX Server 3i Beta, VMware Workstation, and an Intel VT CPU

Also available in alternate formats:

Podcast Podcast - How to run VMware ESX Server 3i Beta inside VMware Workstation & Windows Media Windows Media - How to run VMware ESX Server 3i Beta inside VMware Workstation

When VMware ESX Server 3i Beta was released at the VMworld conference, it was offered only on a USB Flash drive key. It was intended to be booted directly on a hardware server. To make it more convenient to test and demo, you can actually run VMware ESX Server 3i Beta inside VMware Workstation. Watch the video to find out how. To download the WORKING VMX file used in this video, click here.

Please watch these other videos by David Davis & offered at

VMware ESX Server

VMware Workstation & Server

VMware ESX Server Video Series


(3) Purple Screen of Death

2007-10-03 10:48:52

Humm, it starts out OK but after awaile it gives me the PSD. IBM T60 with VT enabled and Workstation 6.01. Any idees?


Written by TTCO (Unregistered)

(4) Purple Screen of Death

2007-10-03 11:10:27

I assume you are talking about getting the PSD during the boot process, right?
Try pressing F1 as soon as it starts booting ESX and see if it will go over to the text log of the boot process, this may tell you where it died and give you a clue as to what the issue is.
You can post screen shots over in the Forums at
Let me know.

Written by David Davis (Publisher)

(5) Virtualiation System Engineer
2007-10-08 15:44:48

I too am having the bomb during post..errors state:
no USB 2 controller found
failed to find usb boot partition
panic..failed to find usb boot partition.

Written by Jay Rogers (Unregistered)

(6) Untitled
2007-10-08 15:49:49

Did you enter the

boot option?

Written by David Davis (Publisher)

(7) Untitled
2007-10-09 14:59:09


Interesting video. Do you know if that will run on AMD-V processors? Or is it Intel specific?

Also, does it require VMWare Workstation as opposed to just VMWare Server?


Written by Jared (Unregistered)

(8) ESX 3i Beta in Vmware Workstation VIDEO
2007-10-09 15:03:12

Thanks for the comments!
Yes, it should run fine on an AMD-V processor.
I believe it does require workstation as I don’t think that Server has the ESX compatible virtual machine option but I haven’t tested that.
To get around it, you may be able to create a machine in Workstation and move it to server – but I haven’t tried that either.
Please tell your friends about this video and!

Written by David Davis (Publisher)

(9) Problem-free
2007-10-10 06:14:33

Nice video David, thanks. Just to let you know that following your instructions it all worked fine on my VT-enabled machine here.

Written by Manek (Unregistered)

(10) Thanks Manek!
2007-10-10 06:22:08

Hi Manek!
Thanks for your comments! I am glad to hear that!
Please tell your friends about the video and the website!

Written by David Davis (Publisher)

(11) it was very helpfull
2007-11-27 08:15:19

Please do let us know the release date of ESX video file


Written by Pradeep S (Unregistered)

(12) Upcoming VMware ESX Video
2007-11-27 09:55:30

Hi Pradeep,
I will absolutely let you know about the new VMware ESX video series if you will fill out the quick form above with your name & email address.

Written by David Davis (Unregistered)

(13) Untitled
2007-11-28 15:34:06

Please help!

I can’t find the ESX3i beta to download.
Thanks Alesandro.

Written by Alesandro (Unregistered)

(14) Download of VMware ESX 3i Beta
2007-11-28 15:40:43

Hi Alesandro,

I do not offer ESX 3i Beta for download.

ESX 3i was only offered at the VMworld trade show and to some list of private beta customers. They have strict rules and threaten lawsuits to anyone who distributes it. For that reason, I cannot distribute my copy. I did see someone selling their official copy they received at the trade show, over on ebay.

There is a long discussion on the VMware Community about how VMware should distribute 3i not only to VMworld attendees but to other potential users in an open Beta –

However, anyone who is a current ESX 3 use with software maintenance through VMware should be able to download a copy of ESX 3i sometime in December. VMware has said that ESX 3.5 and 3i will be released at the same time “in December”.

Thanks – David

Written by David Davis (Publisher)

(15) enter advanced option
2008-02-02 05:46:18

Hi David,
I have followed your guide but i can’t enter the advanced option.
Is there a way to automatically enter the advanced option?
Many Thanks.

Written by Paul (Unregistered)

(16) Untitled
2008-02-02 19:54:09

Are you talking about the advanced options in the console once 3i boots? are you able to login to the 3i console?
feel free to post questions in our virtualization forum! You can add screenshots and we can have a real conversation there.
Thanks for visiting!

Written by David Davis (Publisher)

(17) Procedure hangs with final 3i release…
2008-03-03 10:02:18


Great stuff you published here, but I tested your procedure with the final version of ESX 3i (build-65301) received on an USB key at VMworld Europe 2008 and it hangs at boot at ‘Running wsmand start’. Any idea ?


Written by Adam (Unregistered)

(18) Final 3i release
2008-03-03 10:24:58

OK… Found my answer… Memory requirements for the final release are higher, 1Gb of RAM! I updated my VMX file and ESX 3i started like a charm… Actually with 896Mb.


Written by Adam (Unregistered)

(19) Untitled
2008-03-20 08:00:44

Hi David,

This is cool. I really appreciate your time used for this. Keep up the good work and I’ll definitely will return to your web site to learn more about it and will include your site as a recommended one in my blog.

Written by Susantha Silva (Unregistered)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

murthy s s 06.20.08 at 7:54 am


ESX 3i was great video, Kindly send me the link for downloading the changed vmx file link

David Davis 06.23.08 at 3:58 pm

The link for the VMX file is above, in the article.

Ahsan 07.29.08 at 2:56 pm

I was able to run ESXi inside VMWare workstation 6. But will this setup allow me to run Virtual Machines inside the ESX? I try this and my ESX crashes… any comments?

vmadmin 12.29.08 at 10:40 pm

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