I have a VMWare Server 2.0 installation. I have a USB hard drive plugged into the host and the USB device attached to a VM. I would like to be able to boot from one of the partitions on my USB drive. Is this possible? From the bit of poking around I've done it looks like the BIOS doesn't support USB drives?

3 Answers 3


you would had better results searching for it on Google...

here it is:

No, it is not possible. The guest uses an Intel 440BX chipset, which existed long before bootable USB devices, and does not support such things.

but you can upgrade to the new ESXi Server (free for developing environment) and that will boot from USB devices, all you need to do is follow this trick.

  • Could you add a link to where you found that information?
    – heavyd
    Jun 27, 2009 at 15:47
  • It is a quote, so if you copy the entire text and paste it on Google, you will get your answer and you will find this link: communities.vmware.com/thread/168351
    – balexandre
    Jun 27, 2009 at 22:20
  • Thanks for the link. I'm assuming that all version of VMWare use the same BIOS, since that post is from a VMWare Fusion discussion board.
    – heavyd
    Jun 28, 2009 at 15:53

Rather than trying to boot directly from the USB drive, could you create a VHD on the USB drive and configure the VM boot off of that? If you did things this way, the VM would have no knowledge that it's actually running off of a USB stick.

You'd probably have to be careful with unplugging the USB stick, but I'd think this should be possible. I'm doing something similar with eSATA drives and it's worked like a charm so far...(running stable for about two months now).


BTW: This is the reason why I switched to Virtualbox for desktop virtualization. This feature, RDP (mstsc/MS Terminal Services Client) access to the VM and Seamless mode.

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