Download all the VMware vSphere 5.5 pieces to get your home lab started

It has come to my attention that this article needs a refresh, since the download procedures have changed. Until such an article refresh (based on Update 1) is available, these 3 new download links work great, detailed at TinkerTry right here:
Download ESXi 5.5 Update 1 and the other vSphere pieces to get your home lab started Mar 12 2014.

Original article below:

To get started with your own vSphere 5.5 home lab, you’ll find that there’s just 3 files you’ll need to download. Navigating VMware’s site can be tricky. This article gives you the exact URLs, to help you be absolutely sure you got all the right bits and pieces, before you get started with installing anything.

These release notes cover 3 products, with the 2 you”ll need to get started on a typical home lab bolded. The vCenter Server download that I’m ignoring in this post is more for folks that wish to install vCenter manually on top of a Windows Server, now a bit old school, since the vCSA (VMware vCenter Server Appliance) has come so far in scale and capabilities, and speed of deployment. You’ don’t need to know Linux at all to configure and use it, as I demonstrate on video here. See also configuration maximums.

VMware ESXi™ 5.5 | 22 SEPT 2013 | Build 1331820
VMware vCenter Server™ 5.5 | 22 SEPT 2013 | Build 1312298
vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 | 22 SEPT 2013 | Build 1312297

Plenty of time to read the release notes during the download of those 3 files, which total 2.38GB in all, pictured above. If you have a slower connection, you may prefer to chose the Akamai DLM option for all the downloads, explained here.


1) Download  VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) 5.5.0 Build 1331820

Visit this site, and click the Download button:

VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.5 - Binaries

VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.5 – Binaries

You’re then challenged to login with credentials. Choose new or existing account, because either way, all these downloads listed below are available for free. Licensing is a separate issue.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see the download buttons, the one you want is the first item listed.

Here’s the details of the file, and the link to the product page:
VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.5.0, Release Date 2013-09-22 ESXi ISO image (Includes VMware Tools), File size: 326MB


2) Download vCSA (VMware vCenter Server Appliance – OVA File) 5.5.0 Build 1312297*

'VMware End User License Agreement' click 'Accept'.

‘VMware End User License Agreement’ click ‘Accept’.

Visit this site:
and authenticate, then Accept the VMware End User License Agreement, as seen at right. You’ll need this appliance to have access to many of the ESXi 5.5 specific features that are only accessible by pointing your browser to this appliance, aka, vSphere Web Client. This is how you’ll be able to try the new and interesting stuff, seen here.

All you need is the one 5.5.0 OVA file with “vCenter Server Appliance” in the name.

VMware vCenter Server Appliance - OVA File

VMware vCenter Server Appliance – OVA File

The site won’t allow direct links to the individual “Download” button, but all the other appliance-related files are bundled inside the OVA file, kindly pointed out by TinkerTry commenter Squuiid here (and article updated accordingly 09:48am ET 9-23-2013).

VMware vCenter Server Appliance – OVA File File size: 1.8GB

*As of Jan 25 2014, this has been replaced by 5.5.0b available from a new download URL, but all these instructions remain essentially unchanged:

3) Download VMware vSphere Client 5.5.0 Build 1281650

Visit this URL, it’s a direct link to the installer EXE:
VMware vSphere Client File size: 348 MB (or, shortened for easy sharing,

Save VMware-viclient-all-5.5.0-1281650.exe

Save VMware-viclient-all-5.5.0-1281650.exe

You still need this C# Windows 32 bit program to initially configure your ESXi host, and to deploy the appliance (“File, Deploy OVF Template”), but after that, not so much. This is the same exact link to the actual EXE from VMware’s site that you get when you click on the “Download vSphere Client” button upon pointing your browser straight to your ESXi host. No authentication is required, can be downloaded at any time.

Use the Windows Explorer screenshot above as your guide, to determine if you got the correct 3 files.

You are now ready, congratulations! You have the same exact ESXi as seen on Sep 20 2013 here, Wow, is that a 62TB drive in my home lab?

You may wonder, what about the Client Integration Plug-In in the vSphere Web Client? Well, that bit of code will be coming straight from your vCSA on your local network, once you’ve got the appliance up and running. Thankfully, the vSphere Web Client is now a decent performer, especially when run off a SATA3 SSD, as seen on the TinkerTry YouTube Channel. Not something I’d dare say about 5.1, which was pretty much intolerable. Phew!

What’s next? I will be creating a step-by-step 5.5 installation/configuration guide with video at soon. It will be an updated version of the original hit (based on a slightly earlier build) Build your own VMware vSphere Datacenter in under an hour with the free ESXi 5.5 hypervisor. See also Superguide: VMware vSphere.

Oct 01 2013 Update:
For a comprehensive, step by step guide to the entire process, see also the more thorough, newer article here:
Build your own VMware vSphere 5.5 Datacenter with ESXi and vCSA
by Paul Braren on Sep 30 2013.

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.

2 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • Squuiid

    Could someone explain to me why if I download the OVA file would I ever need the other 3 vCenter Appliance files? I was under the impression that the OVA included the OVF, System Disk and Data Disk all in one?

    • Paul Braren

      Squuiid, you are correct, no reason. Thank you so very much for making this article better, with appropriate updates quickly published, and credit to you given (seen above).
      Only 2.38GB total downloads needed, not >4GB.

      • Squuiid

        :) Glad to help! Thank you so much for your informative site. Your guides and info are top notch.

  • tdot

    What is the best way to upgrade to this free version from the 60 day evaluation copy of 5.1? I am just starting out with esxi and couldn’t wait for this release so I started with the evaluation copy. I can start over if I have to but rather not.

  • Maslac

    I have a licensed Enterprise copy of Vsphere via my Academic institution, will using this dowload to upgrade void my license and I’ll revert to aTrial mode?

  • isalev

    I’m running the free version of ESXi, and I was able to update my server to 5.5 using the profile update.
    It seems like they now moved a lot of ESXi functionality to the vSphere Web Client.
    Is there any way to get that up and running with the free ESXi version?
    Or can I only use the Windows vSphere Client version to do things?


    • Paul Braren

      You can download the OVA file above, and follow the deployment procedure I outline in this video, “Build your own VMware vSphere Datacenter in under an hour with the free ESXi 5.5 hypervisor”

      but admittedly, the appliance time-bombs after 90 days, but rebuilding isn’t as bad or time consuming as it sounds (no VMs lost).

      FYI, I’m also working on a new version of the video today, now that the code is final. Hopefully this helps a bit!

      • isalev

        I wasn’t able to download the OVA file, unless I sign up for the trial.
        But is there any point in installing the trial if I am going to have to re-do things anyway?
        Not sure what they thought they were gaining, but making people use the Web Client, but by not providing it for free users…

        • Paul Braren

          You hit the nail on the head with that comment. I’ll try to write something up about that dirty little secret soon. It’s a tricky article that’d lean more toward political than my typical technical focus, but important nonetheless.

  • Tom

    :( Seems like ESXI 5.5 does not recognise my Realtek RTL8111E on H77 Asrock board. Any info or when can I find driver for this card for ESXI 5.5?

  • Moka

    Hello, tried to install 5.5 or upgrade my 5.1, but can’t do it. NIC not supported anymore. I have a mini-ITX GA-Z77N-WIFI with 2 Realtek 8111F NIC’s. 5.0 and 5.1 work out of the box, but not 5.5. Anyone else how have issue’s with Realtek NIC ?

  • Paul Braren
  • Tom N

    Next problem – when deploying vCenter from ova, it all works ok, until I try to set static IP for the vCenter host (through the web console). It disconnects me from ESXI and vCenter straight away once this change is applied. May need to look at vswitch settings but last night I just gave up.

    • Paul Braren

      The disconnect is strange, but yeah, the appliance doesn’t seem to like anything about DNS or IP changed after it’s been configured.

      Any chance you had the same errors as mentioned here:

      which still seem to apply to the GA release (based on my own numerous tests last night, trying to work out a simplified install process)? Just for grins, if you don’t set a static IP and run the configuration wizard, it completes without errors, correct? That would hint that setting up a DHCP reservation could be a workaround for you, once you’re in the mood to try stuff again ;-)

      • Tom N

        Thanks for that link. I will try to setup my home router with reserved IP based on MAC. But still, this is a pain to setup, if I ever replace my router then I will need to remember to reset it back. I have never run the wizard as I wanted to set static IP first so it is nice and tidy. Will try again tonight after work.

        • Paul Braren

          I agree, it’s not ideal, which is why I’m trying so hard to get an alternative, more elegant method working, rather than a mere workaround. Stay tuned!

          • Paul Braren

            Tom, I think I just nailed it, with a creative approach to lack of reverse DNS lookup (that SSO really doesn’t like).

            But need more time and repeated tests before I’m ready to share with the world. Please stand by, at the edge of your seat…you know me, when it’s ready, it’s ready, and thoroughly documented… Hit me up with a private email if you’d like, when you’re back at home (multitasking like crazy myself today):

          • Tom N

            Hi Paul, just back at home. Could not find your e-mail on the website so writing here. I have just tried with mac address mapping in my router but as soon as the machine boot up I am loosing connection to the ESXI! Weird. I need to check the virtual switch settings. Any heads up about your solution? :) Cheers, Tom

          • Tom N

            My bad, I think I was making a typo yesterday. Tried once again now and it works with static IP setup… weird. ANyway. continuing through the wizard :)

          • Tom N

            All works! Now, lets see if Win7 VM converted to v10 of vmware virtual machine is going to passthrough my onboard graphics card. Fingers crossed. Thanks for your help Paul.

          • Paul Braren

            Hmm, your issue sounds quite different than my problem

            So I’m afraid the cause of your issue is probabaly something else entirely, so sorry.

          • Paul Braren

            Sigh, and the fix for this:
            was going so well, back to the drawing board…

            (my email is reachable at by filling out the form)

  • johnzered

    A bit out of topic but is it possible to get CPU and motherboard temperatures under Configuration/Health Status? I only see Processors and Software components but no Temperature or Fans etc. I have a AsRock H77 Pro4-M motherboard. Do I need supported hardware to get this info? Do you get these metrics in your vZilla?

  • brainlesscurls

    I tried to upgrade using the iso but I’m unable to boot the installer. It hangs on “Initializing ACPI” on an Asrock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3, I had no problem with previous versions…

    • Paul Braren

      Hmm, any chance there’s a slightlly backlevel BIOS you could try? Or go with IDE mode until the install onto USB flash memory stick is done, then turn AHCI back on and see how that goes? Not sure about any of these ideas, since I have a different ASRock board, just thinking aloud…

      • brainlesscurls

        Thanks for the suggestions. I disabled everything in ACPI configuration, switched to IDE, added “noACPI” in boot options but nothing worked. Then I remembered reading something about CPU states so I disabled everything and it finally booted. I’m upgrading right now so I’ll let you know if everything works as expected.

      • brainlesscurls

        It seems like I just can’t boot in UEFI mode anymore. I’m gonna try reactivating the options I disabled one by one. At least it’s installed now, thanks a lot for your help :)

      • brainlesscurls

        I’m not sure upgrading was the wisest thing to do given how much effort was needed. I can’t use UEFI nor AHCI, so I’m in Raid mode but now my PCIe SATA controller card isn’t recognized anymore… I tried using passthrough and it seemed ok at first, but my OpenIndiana VM is not able to use the card… I guess I’ll just rollback to 5.1 where everything worked.

        • Paul Braren

          Wow, interesting how different our experiences were, even though we’re both on ASRock Z68 based mobos. Guess it brings back memories of how finicky getting VMDirectPath was, back in 2Q2011:

          Yeah, I don’t give up easily I suppose (tried 5 mobos). So sorry your experience didn’t go well. It would seem that some folks who have pass through problems do better on backlevel BIOSs, but your circumstance sounds even worse, with ESXi 5.5 just not going well, period. Darn.

          • brainlesscurls

            Your blog is a goldmine when looking for VMware related information so giving feedback is the least I can do, my whole build came from one your posts. Trying new versions on another USB stick is a lot safer and I think I’ll start doing just that. I used the recovery option to rollback to 5.1, but my VMware Tools iso folder is now empty… Do you think I should just grab a VMware tools package or reinstall ? Thanks to you for taking the time to answer almost every post !

          • Paul Braren

            Cool, thank you, and hoping the new Google Site Search helpful when digging through the mine, without the ads (more costly).

            As far as the ISO folder being empty, I’m sorry, I’ve not run into that, but given it’s so quick to reinstall anyway, it’s fair to say I’ve gotten lazy on worry about upgrades and downgrades too much. Just being honest, sorry I shouldn’t weigh in on this one, since I have no direct experience. Hoping somebody else can weigh in, anybody?

          • brainlesscurls

            I gave a last short to 5.5 and downgraded the bios on the motherboard, no go. I was surprised that no beta bios was available in the bios section on Asrock’s site, so I checked in Beta drivers and utilities and boom ! I flashed 2.31A beta and the installer worked as it should with UEFI and AHCI on ! I’m installing right now on another USB key to see if everything works.

            So, for Asrock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen 3 users having problems with “Initializing ACPI” on ESXi 5.5, upgrade your bios to 2.31A beta !

            Thanks again !

          • Paul Braren

            Awesome news, thank you for sharing, nice to see you won the battle!

            If you happen to have a parts list of your rig, I’d like to publish it in an upcoming article, just email it in by filling out the form at the bottom of if you feel like it.

            FYI, in case you ever do need to go backlevel on ASRock someday, on my Fatal1ty Z68 mobo, ASRock actually mailed me some old BIOS chips for free, after I contacted them about an issue with downgrading (non VMware related). So their support can be decent. It had been a while since I used a chip-puller, worked out fine, for both of us.

          • Paul Braren

            Doh, just discovered my vm-tools ISO folder also somehow wound up empty, need to look further into this, after a recent re-install. Your post was months ago. What did you end up doing?

    • FarpointRelay

      I had the same issue on a different Asrock UEFI based board. I went into the BIOS and instead of booting my USB stick via UEFI, I changed the HD boot order so it booted the USB stick via the traditional BIOS method. Presto! VMware 5.5 booted right up! :)

      • Paul Braren

        FarpointRelay, that was very kind of you to pitch in and help, sure hope brainlesscurls saw your tip! I remember having UEFI issues to, but not this particular one, but yeah, your advice makes sense and is easy to try, and now that Google has indexed this conversation, hopefully you’ve helped others as well!

  • Tom N

    I can now say that my expectations as to VMware 5.5 failed miserably. I was hoping to get the HD4000 oboard graphic card passthrough to a VM without issues and then use it. As for now – no luck. vm either freezes (my old one that I am reconfiguring) or doesn’t start at all (fresh Win7 Pro build). Such a long wait and so little results. Ah well. You cant get everything!

  • Nick Kirby

    Hi Paul,

    I’m having an issue with the ASRock Fa1ality motherboard where ESX 5.5 doesn’t show any disks (SSD’s) connected to the SATA3 ports? The 4 disks I have connected to these ports are showing in the BIOS but the client is only showing the disks I have connected to the SATAII ports? I tried ‘add storage’ but no joy :(

    I was wondering if you’ve heard of anyone having these kinds of problems?

    • Paul Braren

      Yeah, as seen on page 9 of the manual:

      It summarizes the SATA support (only the Intel based SATA3 ports get recognized, the inferior/slower ASMedia ASM1061 ports don’t show on ESXi 5.5).


      - 2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by Intel Z68, support RAID

      (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 10, RAID 5, Intel Rapid Storage and

      Intel Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and “Hot

      Plug” functions

      - 4 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors by ASMedia ASM1061,

      support NCQ, AHCI and “Hot Plug” functions

      (SATA3_A4 connector is shared with eSATA3 port)


      Yep, noticed that issue with fewer ports recognized (during the beta too), but haven’t had a chance to blog about it yet (so much to talk about these days).

      I’m trying one of these, to get around it:
      so far, so good, but haven’t tested speed yet. Hope this helps, even though I realize it’ll also disappoint. There may be ways of getting those AHCI ports recognized, I just haven’t had time to research that yet.

    • Paul Braren

      This article sure looks promising, plan to test it myself, as soon as I can reboot, hopefully later this week:
      How to make your unsupported SATA AHCI Controller work with ESXi 5.5 by Andreas Peetz on Nov 04 2013.

  • Pingback: Adventures w/ an ESXi server @ home. - Page 4 - Hardware Canucks()

  • Paul Braren

    Got my vZilla build’s ASM1062 SATA ports and my Realtek NICs all getting along with ESXi 5.5 just fine now, see
    “Use ESXi-Customer GUI to inject multiple driver VIBs into your ESXi installer ISO”

  • Mike Phelps

    just another look at initializing ACPI hang trying to upgrade from ESX5.1U1:
    ESXi 5.5 on Intel DQ67OW specific to my home lab

    I got ESXi 5.5 installed after working through a number of items from similar threads, but none that matched exactly. I had 5.1U1 running fine, but an upgrade to 5.5 failed when trying to boot with it stopping at ACPI initialization.

    disconnected hard drives ( at one point, I believe booting from USB was relying on the hard drives)

    UEFI boot: disabled in BIOS – anytime this was enabled, it’d hang at ACPI

    for USB3 16GB stick, used Rufus to create install for ‘msdos for BIOS and UEFI computers’ with 5.5 ISO (had to install a Windows 8.1 VM to support USB3 not through a USB2 hub under VMware Fusion)

    on install, Shift-O to add formatwithmbr

    chose the USB stick as destination; was the only option after disconnecting hard drive

    temporarily move management cat5e cable from integrated NIC to port one on quad port i350 for management network

    configured static management interface

    Troubleshoot menu to enable SSH

    SSH into host and execute:

    esxcli software acceptance set –level=“CommunitySupported”

    esxcli software vib install -v

    reboot and re-cable management network from quad port back to integrated NIC

    reset management interface adapter to discovered integrated NIC

    reconnect SATA drives

    HTH save someone else a little time. Mike

    • Paul Braren

      Thanks for being so generous with your time, sounds like quite a bit of pain was felt by you, I agree, it’s great to help others avoid the miseries!

      I had forgotten about that shift+o thing (since I didn’t have to go through that):

      • Mike Phelps

        Thanks Paul. I posted here because of the help with Rufus. Other goodies I intend to read too.

  • Mike

    how, where did you get the download url for the vsphere C# client? (step 3)

  • imran

    vCSA (VMware vCenter Server Appliance – OVA File) 5.5.0 Build 1312297
    i cant download it it says i need some sort of paid account to get it downloaded. Please clarify

  • imran

    yes its good for trial version. thanks

  • Pingback: Install ESXi 5.5 with Realtek 8111/8168 NIC — YaoSmart()

  • ScottC

    Hi, Paul this site is brilliant and I’ve been following it since I purchased my HP Proliant N54L Server (in the UK a while back you could get one for £70!) anyway I digress. I am trying to download the VMware vCenter Server 5.5.0b Appliance .ova file but when clicking on your link above I get an error saying “either I am not entitled or do not have permissions to download this product” – I am registered with vmware and have the other products downloaded and installed and am at chapter 4 of your guide. Any ideas? Thanks Scott

  • ScottC

    Managed to get the vCentre Server Appliance downloaded (had to register for it, the VMWare site can be hard to navigate at times!) however now when trying to install, I am not seeing any storage come up in the storage section, it is blank and I can’t proceed – why is this? I have 2TB on my HP Proliant server?

  • Mr Z
    • Paul Braren

      I have prepended a warning about the new links in the article above, here’s a copy that should really help you out, let us know how it goes!

      It has come to my attention that this article needs a refresh, since the download procedures have changed. Until such an article refresh (based on Update 1) is available, see also the 3 new download links right here:

      Download ESXi 5.5 Update 1 and the other vSphere pieces to get your home lab started

  • Protools Guru

    Where can I get the vCenter Server Appliance – OVA file. It’s nolonger available for download on this site or the vmware site. That’s the last componet I need for my home Lab. Help Please.

  • Paul Braren

    Following the “long version” and signing up for an account should work, in this newer article:
    Let us know how it goes!

  • Ryan

    Unfortunately I don’t think the appliance is available. I have registered multiple accounts and the only option I have for VCenter is the ISO. I emailed support so I will post back when I get a response.

  • Paul Braren

    Any word back from support? I really appreciate your looking into this new Jul 22 2014:
    “VMware vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1c” appliance:

    • Paul Braren

      For folks logged in, you may see something like this:
      Download VMware vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1c

      (where I’ve expanded the “Read More” sections for all Appliance related downloads)