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The centerpiece of my lab is white box ESXi host. It’s been running ESXi 3.5 without issue for about a year now. A lot of my clients also run ESXi, with a few potential 3.5 to 4.0 updates coming down the pipe, so I decided it was time to update the lab to ESXi 4.0. Since I’m using the free version of ESXi in my lab, here’s what I did to perform the upgrade without VirtualCenter:

  1. Go to VMware’s ESXi Download Page. You’ll need to log in with your existing account, or create a new one to continue
  2. Download and install VMware vSphere Client and Host Update Utility on a Windows based system
  3. Save the VMware ESXi 4.0 (upgrade ZIP) file
  4. Log into your ESXi host using vSphere Client, and shutdown all VMs, then right click on the host, and select Enter Maintenance Mode
  5. Start up the VMware vSphere Host Update Utility, and follow the wizard. You’ll be asked to select which host to update, browse to the VMware ESXi 4.0 (upgrade ZIP) file that you downloaded earlier, and confirm that you want to proceed. The ESXi host will reboot during the upgrade process.
  6. Once the update is complete, log back into your ESXi host using vSphere Client, then right click on the newly updated ESXi host, and select Exit Maintenance Mode