Installing vSphere ESXi 5.5 on an Intel NUC D54250WYK

I recently purchased an Intel D54250WYK Next Unit of Computing (NUC) Kit with the intention of using it as a Windows Server for a small business customer in Massachusetts.  The office currently supports 5-users and does not have a separate conditioned server room so noise, space, and heat were primary concerns.  I was inspired by the purchase of this unit after reading Alex Galbraith’s NanoLab series at  The Intel NUC D54250WYK low power consumption, quiet fan, and small footprint are perfect for this customers temporary requirements. I outfitted the NUC with Crucial’s 16GB Memory Module Kit for Mac (CT2K8G160BM) and an Intel Solid-State 240GB 530 Series mSATA Drive (SSDMCEAW240A401).   This customer will be using this as a temporary solution, as a result I wanted to make the Windows server portable.  The portability of a VMware virtual machine made ESXi 5.5 seem like a good choice for this temporary solution.

In order to install ESXi 5.5 on the Intel NUC D54250WYK you will need the following:

1. USB Stick, recommend 4GB or higher.
2. UNetbootin available at
3. VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5 .iso available at
4. ESXi-Customizer available at Andreas Peetz’s bLOG
5. ESXi Driver for the Intel 82579V Gigabit Ethernet Controller (net-e1000e2.3.2x86_64.vib)
6. ESXi Driver for the Intel SATA Controller (sata-xahci-1.10-1.x86_64.vib)

Both drivers are currently available at Florian Grehl’s website in his bLOG article ESXi 5.x Installation on Intel NUC fails with “No Network Adapters”.

Once you have downloaded all of the required software, prepare the custom ESXi ISO file by adding the .vib driver files.  This is done by using the ESXi-Customizer.  You will run ESXi-Customizer two times; the first time you will create a custom ESXi ISO file with the network driver; the second time you will use the custom ESXi ISO file you created and add the sata driver.  The screenshot below illustrates the later.


Note: You must uncheck the Create (U)EFI-bootable ISO (ESXi 5.0 only) if it has been selected.

Once you have completed creating the custom ESXi ISO you will use UNetbootin to prepare the USB stick.  Use your operating system of choice to format the USB stick with the FAT file system, then launch Unetbootin.
Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 5.37.40 AM
At the UNetbootin dialog box, select the radio button DiskImage, then browse to the ESXi-5.x-Custom.iso you created and click OK.
On my Intel NUC D54250WYK I disabled UEFI in the BIOS to boot from the USB stick, and enabled Legacy Boot to boot from the Intel mSATA drive.
After installing ESXi 5.5 I created a Windows 2012 virtual machine and ran it for 24 hours successfully.

9 thoughts on “Installing vSphere ESXi 5.5 on an Intel NUC D54250WYK”

  1. This has been a very helpful article, thank you very much.

    Based on your article I bought a D54250WYKH and have now successfully installed ESXi 5.5 on it and am using it as a home lab! 🙂

    Do you know if it is possible to add one of the USB 3.0 ports from the host to the guest? I’ve been trying and haven’t been able to get it to work which is quite frustrating 😦

    I can successfully add a EHCI+UHCI (USB 2.0) controller and all of the USB devices to it, but if I add the controller as a xHCI (USB 3.0) it successfully adds it but the VM can’t find any drivers for it and I cannot connect any devices.

    Any help that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Phroneein I have not attempted to configure DirectPathIO/hypervisor bypass with any of the USB ports. I have recently retired the NUC in my lab environment due to its limited expansion capabilities. I am now using an HP DL320e in its place.

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