If you are trying to setup your home lab for testing VMware ESXi 5.5/6.0, but you can’t begin the installation because the drivers for the network adapters, the easiest way to solve this is to inject the drivers for your Realtek Ethernet adapter into the ESXi installation image, the process is very simple:

  1. download the ESXi 5.5/6.0 from VMware Downloads page (if you don’t have it already).
  2. Download Realtek driver from here.
  3. Download VMware Customizer Tool. (it’s still compatible with 5.5 and 6.0)
  4. Run the customizer tool EXE file to extract the tool folder.
  5. run the following file from the extracted folder: ESXi-Customizer.cmd.
  6. a warning message will be informing you that this tool is no longer supported, just ignore it.
  7. browse to the location of the source ISO image for the ESXi, and the source file for the network adapter driver, then specify the destination folder for the output.esx customizer
  8. burn the created ISO image to a CD.
  9. now you are ready.

PS: this driver is compatible with Realtek 8168/8111/8411/8118, if you have another version, so you will have to search for it.

if the download  links mentioned above are broken, contact me directly please to sent it to you at: m.roushdy@live.com

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