ESXi 5.x Installation on Intel NUC fails with “No Network Adapters”

When you try to install ESXi 5.x on an Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC) system, the installation fails with the following error message:

No Network Adapters

No network adapters were detected. Either no network adapters are physically connected to the system, or a suitable driver could not be located. A third party driver my be required.

Ensure that there is at least one network adapter physically connected to the system before attempting installation. If the problem persists, consult the VMware Knowledge Base.

3rd Generation Intel NUC Models:

  • Intel NUC DC53427HYE
  • Intel NUC DC3217IYE
  • Intel NUC DC3217BY

4th Generation Intel NUC Models:

  • Intel NUC D54250WYK
  • Intel NUC D34010WYK
  • Intel NUC D54250WYKH
  • Intel NUC D34010WYKH

This message is caused by the Intel 82579LM Gigabit Ethernet Controller whose drivers are not included in the ESXi Base Image. To fix that, you have to create an customized ESXi Image and add the proper drivers.

Tested with:

  • VMware ESXi 5.0
  • VMware ESXi 5.1
  • VMware ESXi 5.5

 

Create Customized ISO with ESXi-Customizer by v-front.de

ESXi-Customizer is a user-friendly program thats can be used to customize the original ESXi installation media with drivers that are not originally included. The script runs entirely on Windows. The required drivers are dependent on your Intel NUC Generation.

  1. Download required Files:
    – ESXi 5.1 U1 ISO image (VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.1.0.update01-1065491.x86_64.iso)
    – ESXi-Customizer (ESXi-Customizer-v2.7.1.exe)
    – Intel Driver (net-e1001e-1.0.0.x86_64.vib) (3rd Gen NUC)
    – Intel Driver (net-e1000e-2.3.2.x86_64.vib) (4th Gen NUC)
    – SATA Controller (sata-xahci-1.10-1.x86_64.vib) (4th Gen NUC) from v-front.de
  2. Run ESXi-Customizer-v2.7.1.exe to extract the required files
  3. Run ESXi-Customizer.cmd
  4. Select the ESXi Image and VIB File
  5. Make sure to tick “Create (U)EFI-bootable ISO”
    Intel-NUC-ESXi-Customization
  6. Press Run!
  7. Repeat Step 2-6 to add all required drivers
  8. Burn the new created ISO file and use it in your Intel NUC

Create Customized ISO with PowerCLI

You can use PowerCLI to create a customized ISO. (Check this post if you are new to PowerCLI):

Required Files: