Thursday, March 1, 2012

How to change the boot order of a virtual machine using vmx options

In ESXi/ESX, choose the boot device using the advanced virtual machine options bios.bootOrder and bios.hddOrder.
Note: These settings override the boot order that you might have set in the virtual machine's BIOS previously.
The virtual machine's boot order can be set to any virtual NIC via ethernetX, where X is the number of the device. For example, ethernet0 or ethernet5. It can also be set to hdd, cdrom, or floppy. If set to cdrom or floppy there are multiple devices, the virtual machine tries them sequentially until it finds one to boot from. If bios.bootOrder is set to hdd, you also have to define bios.hddOrder and set a device (for example, scsi0:3 or ide1:0) to boot from.
You can also configure a list of devices. Ensure to put the list into quotation marks and seperate the devices with commas. For example:
bios.bootOrder = "ethernet5,ethernet2,hdd,cdrom,floppy"
bios.hddOrder = "scsi2:2,scsi0:1,ide1:0"

In this example, the virtual machine tries to boot with ethernet5. If there is nothing to boot from, try ethernet2. If that fails, try from the disks (hdd) defined in hddOrder, then all cdroms, and finally from all floppys.
Unlike BIOS, you can choose from all available NICs and disks, but there is a maximum of 5 NICs and 8 disks that can be used in a boot order list. If you move a bootOrder/hddOrder configured virtual machine to a host that is not running on ESXi/ESX, it might not use the boot order you expect it to upon the next restart.
To configure bootOrder for a virtual machine using the vSphere Client:
  • Shut down the virtual machine.
  • Click the virtual machine in the Inventory.
  • Click the Summary tab for that virtual machine, then click Edit Settings.
  • In the Virtual Machine Properties dialog, click the Options tab.
  • Under Advanced, click General.
  • Click Configuration Parameters.
  • Click Add Row.
  • Create two new rows.
  • Enter bios.bootOrder to the Name column and enter the devices in the Value column.
  • Enter bios.hddOrder to the Name column and enter the devices in the Value column.
  • Click OK to save the changes.
For more information read the following article from VMware

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