Disable PXE Boot for Individual vNIC on Virtual Machine

To achieve Auto Deploy I’d like to control PXE boot process. I want the vNICs of management network can do PXE boot only. That’s because DHCP server may learns incorrect MAC address of management network if ESXi host boots up by non-management network NICs.

The psychical servers are easy to disable PXE boot feature of individual network adapters in BIOS or server profile. Virtual machines is tricky. Following is how to do it. It’s useful for home lab.

  1. Make sure your ESXi VM uses E1000E vNIC. You can only disable PXE boot for all vNICs in one time if type is vmxnet3. And nested ESXi doesn’t support E1000 vNICs.
  2. Go to the VM folder and edit vmx file.
  3. You should see similar entries below. The vNIC name starts from  ethernet0 to ethernetn. It matches vmnic0 to vmnicx on ESXi.

    ethernet1.virtualDev = “e1000e”

  4. I have 4 vNICs. I want to keep PXE boot for ethernet0 and ethernet1. So I only disable it on rest of vNICs. Add following lines to vmx file.

    ethernet2.opromsize = “0”
    ethernet3.opromsize = “0”

  5. Save the vmx file and quit.
  6. Power on the VM.

Please make sure you power on the virtual machines by vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client. As you may know VM console may opened by VMware Workstation if workstation and vSphere Client both existing on your computer. Looks like sometimes the parameter doesn’t work if you power on the  VM by VMware Workstation.

VMware KB Disabling Network boot option from appearing in a virtual machine’s BIOS (1014906) talks about same thing but the value of parameters looks like incorrect for ESXi 6.5.

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