[Guide] Install VMware vSphere 5.5 on Windows 7 and 8 Using VMware Workstation

vSphere 5.5, the server virtualization software from VMware had come up with several exciting features. They have tweaked the hardware compatibility and scalability  which can almost match up with Windows 2012 R2 hyper-v. The newly introduced virtual hardware version 10 is having plenty of improved and extended hardware support for virtual machines. If you are already VMware customer, you do not need to confuse with Microsoft Hyper-v by comparing the features now, it’s almost same and you are not going to miss anything much. If you like to try the free version of vSphere on your home or office computer before use it in production environment, this guide shows you how to install vSphere 5.5 on Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC by using VMware workstation ( also applicable for VM Player). In this way you can learn,experiment and even setup your testing virtual lab on a normal Intel PC.

The major new features of vSphere 5.5 include, VSAN ( Virtual ‘shared’ Storage Access Network), VMware NSX- network virtualization, improved virtual machine hardware support- more logical CPUs, 2TB to 4TB RAM and 62TB virtual hard disk VMDK.  Also the newly included feature vSphere Flash Read Cache will improve the performance dramatically.

If you like to know more about what’s new in vSphere 5.5, check official site here or another great site. Let us see how we can install this great server hypervisor software on your normal Windows 7 or Widows 8 desktop computer by VMware workstation.

Note- This guide has been updated from vSphere 5.0 installation steps to 5.5 version, since the steps remain mostly same, you will find older screenshots here.

Steps to Install VMware vSphere 5.5 on Windows 7 or Windows 8 with VMware Workstation

1) Make sure your computer processor supports hardware Virtualization Technology (VT) and it is enabled in BIOS. If not, enable it in BIOS and confirm that host Operating System is sensing it.

Find out more information on how to enable vt-x and confirm it.

Below screenshot shows that VT-x is enabled on a host computer Windows 8.

vt-x enabled intel utility

Memory – vSphere 5.5 requires minimum 4GB memory for virtual machine, therefore make sure your physical computer is having more than 4GB of RAM. You should allocate minimum 4GB for vSphere 5.5 virtual machine on VMware workstation with Windows 7 or Windows 8.

2) Download vSphere 5.5 (ESXi 5.5) and Client version 5.5 from official site here. Registration required.

download vmware vspeher 5.5

3) Create a new virtual machine in VMware workstation or player. Browse the ESXi 5.5 installable ISO file you have downloaded. If you have the latest version of VMware, the easy install method will detect the OS automatically and adjust the virtual machine’s hardware by itself.

auto detect

4) Set the folder location for virtual machine and hard disk size. Here is the summary of my ESXi 5.5 virtual machine on Windows 8. If you like to customize some hardware settings, such as processor cores, network, RAM and additional hard disks, then press ‘Customize Hardware’.

summary before power on vm

5) Start the virtual machine and select ‘Standard Installer’ option.  Press ‘ENTER’ to continue the installation in next screen.

6) Press F11 for EULA.  Select the disk to install if you have multiple virtual disks here. I have created and started vSphere 5.5 virtual machine with single 40GB disk.

select disk to install

Next screen is to select keyboard layout and type the root password. Its better to assign a root password (which should be with minimum 7 characters) now.

7) Because of we are using a server virtualization software as a virtual machine, you may get a warning message for Hardware virtualization support in BIOS, you can omit the warning message. Press Enter to continue the installation.

vt error during esxi 5 installation

8.) Once installation is completed, remove the ISO from CD drive of virtual machine and restart the VM. It should boot properly and receive a DHCP IP as a management IP as shown below.

first screen

Always better to have a static IP for vSphere 5.5 server.

9) Press F2 to customize server management settings. Enter the root password which was given during the installation.

You need to make sure that virtual machine’s network setting is configured properly to communicate with other hosts and guests.

Change the IPv4 address to static and provide an IP address suitable for your network.

chaning ip

You have to apply the settings and restart the management network service to take effect of new IP.

Check the connectivity by pinging to vSphere ESXi 5.5 server from any of the client computer.

10) Access the server IP address in your internet browser.

certificate error in ie9 for vsphere 5

Ignore or continue the certificate error, you must be able to see the Getting start page. If you have already download the vSphere client from VMware website, you can directly install the client and start using, if not by clicking the download link will take you to the website.

download vclient

You must have up-to-date vSphere client to connect and manage latest vSphere 5.5 hypervisor, therefore make sure to update your current old version.

11) After installing the latest client, enter the IP of server and root password.

vsphere 5 client

You can ignore certificate error here too.

12) Here is the working VMware vSphere 5.5 on VMware workstation 10 with Windows 8. Performance is quite good compared to earlier versions, because of default 4GB RAM. No doubt, this is very helpful for learning and experiment purpose.

working vsphere 5 in windows 7

Its always nice to have these type of server virtualization software on a normal PC which will allow to have virtual test lab.

vSphere 5.5 client is having some compatibility issues with some of the Windows Operating Systems, we will be covering about it in coming days.

If you are interested in creating and connecting virtual NAS (Network Access Storage) on your same testing environment, you can install FreeNAS OS as a separate virtual machine and connect to vSphere 5.5. I explained step by step to connect FreeNAS with VMware vSphere server here.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

26 thoughts on “[Guide] Install VMware vSphere 5.5 on Windows 7 and 8 Using VMware Workstation”

  1. Hello!

    I’m trying to install a 64bit Virtual Machine in my ESXi 5 (running in my VMware Workstation 7) but when I try to start the VM the ESXi says that I don’t have a 64bit machine (I have a Intel Core i7 2.67Ghz) .

    Do you have any idea about this error?

  2. It’s not really vSphere 5 is it? It’s just ESXi5, which to be honest is a waste of internet web space, any monkey can click Next, Next, Install.

  3. hi,
    i have been trying to install esx 5 on a vm station 7. I have already got 3.5 and 4.1 running with no issues. When the installation starts it complains “no network adapters”. I have tested the connections, it works fine, all other vm guests can use the network, I have also changed the network config on the vm host-only and NAT , but same issue.
    Has anyone of you come across this issue before?

    • Hi,
      Use to have the same issue with Citrix Xen Server but it was a problem with network card driver Broadcom and I updated but I had the same issue and then i downloaded Xen Server 5.1.0 which solved the issue.

    • Hi,
      Use to have the same issue with Citrix Xen Server but it was a problem with network card driver Broadcom and I updated but I had the same issue and then i downloaded Xen Server 5.1.0 which solved the issue.


  4. Hi,
    I try to install esx 5 on vmware server server console version 1.0.4. I have alredy installed esx version 4.1.0 without problem. Now when i install the esx 5 i have a purple screen with this error message: No place on disk to dump data.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks in advance.

    • @luky, i tried vmware console but unfortunetely i couldn’t login on to any vms as vm workstation (probably i am not familiar with the cosole) even though the message appears the vms are running. Strangely after uninstall workstation and reinstalling did the trick of vsphere 5 😉
      thanks for your help.

  5. one question is the default gateway that you gave to ESXI is that your physical machine’s Ip address ?

  6. what could be the benefits to install ESX on Workstation? sounds like you are running virtual guest inside another virtual guest… I can see a lack of performance, but what kind of advantages do you get??

    • Let me answer your question.
      ESXi/ESX is initially designed to work on hardware, in a performance critical situation, the method suggested in this guide is totally useless.


      When talking about the case that you want to LEARN the technology, this guide is a good reference to set-up a low-cost experimental site that you can play around.

      You can use existing Hardware without having to format your harddisk/buy another one to install a ESX/ESXi.
      You can use another VM in the workstation as VCentre.
      You can just throw the whole thing into Recycle Bin if you no-longer need it.

      That is why I think this guide is a very good reference.

  7. I have a desktop class machine with 4GB RAM and 500GB blank HDD and i want to install ESXi 5.0. But i want to create partitions(say 3 or 2) and on 1 of those partitions i would like to install the ESXi host, is this possible and if yes how can such partition be created… ??????

    Please Help.
    Thanks in advance

  8. I cannot install 2008 R2 in my esxi which is running in my vmware workstation 7. Any solutions. Pls do update moderator. Cheers and merry XMAS to all !!!

  9. I had installed ESXi server on a VM in workstation 7. I installed
    window 7 on another VM and installed client software on it. I am able
    to connect to the ESXi server, I created a VM on the ESXi
    server but when I am trying to start the VM it is giving this error
    (running ESX in a virtual machine requires the outer virtual machine
    to be configured for running a vmware ESX guest operating system.) How
    to do that? My machine is intel VT enabled. I am unable to figure out
    the problem. Pl suggest a solution.

  10. Hi,
    I had installed ESXi 5.0 on a VMWare Workstation 8 (IP add:; subnet mask:; default gateway: I had installed a windows 2003 domain controller (IP add: I can be able to ping the ESXi IP add from the windows. When I test the function “Test Management Network” in the ESXi host, it shows that the hostname can not be resolved. Please give me the solution to fix the issue. your help will be appreciated!

  11. hello.
    when i instal the program he want user and passwor,its automaticly gives user name “root” ..what next how i pass that ? i tryed alt+f1…tryed few password and nothing how i can pass this screen ?

  12. hello.
    I have already installed winXP 64bit on EXSI server 5.0 …but em not getting any way to to connect my WinXP machine to network…My drivers r not working as em able to install dem….but WinXP is not finding Any Hardware….plz help me

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