Removing the RAM limitation on ESXi 4.0.0

I have VMWare ESXi 4.0 running in VMWare Workstation 7 (Beta). But ESXi 4.0 won’t install/start if it doesn’t run on a machine with at least 2GB RAM. This is a silly limitation if you run ESXi in VMWare Workstation though. So, let’s remove it.

  1. Open a console to the ESXi VM.
  2. Press Alt-F1 to take you to another vtty.
  3. Type ”unsupported”, mind you, you won’t see the input. Now press Enter.
  4. You will be asked for a password, type your root password
  5. The console should now read “You have now actived Tech Support Mode”
  6. Edit the esx.conf file in /etc/vmware with the command “vi /etc/vmware/esx.conf” and add the line ‘/vmkernel/minMemoryCheck = “false” ‘ to the file
  7. Save the file and exit the vtty.
  8. Press Alt-F2 again to return to the default vtty.
  9. Press F12, input your password, and press F2 to stop ESXi
  10. Adjust the amount of RAM assigned to the ESXi VM and start it again

It is said that ESX 4 (no typo) can run on 768MB. My experience is, that running on 1280MB or less, won’t even start the ESXi VM; it will crash the Purple Screen Of Death. Running 1280MB to 1664MB will run the ESXi VM, but you won’t be able to run VM’s within the ESXi VM. Running with 1664MB RAM works like a charm for me. It only gives you 384MB free RAM from 2048MB, but that might still be worth it. It does show, that VMWare’s 2048MB limitation isn’t some randomly chosen number, and I recommend not changing it if you run ESXi on a physical machine.

This trick enabled me to run another ESXi 4.0 with 1664MB within Workstation 7 (Beta), so for me it was definitely worth it  =)



Running virtual machines in ESXi 4.0 running in VMWare Workstation 7 Beta

In VMWare Workstation 7 it is possible to choose VMWare ESX as Guest OS. Very nice, no more tricks are needed to get this working. Well, that’s what I thought. I added a Windows XP VM to ESXi but when I powered it up, it threw the error “You may not power on a virtual machine in a virtual machine“.

Adding the following lines to the ESXi .vmx file fixed this issue:

monitor.virtual_exec = “automatic”
monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = “TRUE”

monitor.virtual_exec = “automatic”

monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = “TRUE”

The result; a very slow Windows XP VM. Cool =)


Disable debug mode in VMWare Workstation 7 Beta

I was invited to test the new VMWare Workstation (7) Beta. As soon as I started my first VM, I remembered why I stopped using the 6.5 Beta: It’s slooooooooooooooooooow. VMWare enables debug mode by default, which is, ofcourse, a good thing. It will make bug reporting and troubleshooting easier, because people can easily upload a debug log without making any additional settings.

But because it is so incredibly slow, it would mean to me, that I would not be able to test the software at all. So let’s speed things up a little.

  1. Close all VM’s and close VMWare Workstation itself.
  2. Go to C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation
  3. Rename vmware-vmx-debug.exe to vmware-vmx-debug.exe.old
  4. Copy vmware-vmx.exe to vmware-vmx-debug.exe
  5. All done

You should end up with this:


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