Adding Realtek R8168 Driver to an ESXi 6.0 ISO

As part of my home lab I installed ESXi 6.0 on one of my older i5 Desktops, the PC has a Realtek 8168 network card built into the motherboard.  I recently tried to upgrade it to ESXi 6.0 but it would not detect my network card and the installation would fail.  It looks like ESXi 6.0 does not include an inbox driver for this card. When I originally installed ESXi 5.0 on this PC there was an inbox driver that got installed automatically and I did not have to inject it into the iso.  Here are the steps how to inject the Realtek driver into the ISO image of ESXi 6.0.  This should work for the following NICs Realtek 8168/8111/8411/8118.

I originally tried to inject a vib taken out of ESXi 5.1U3 offline bundle but that would fail with the below error.  It looks like 5.1 vibs are not compatible with ESXi 6.0.

Operation failed:
Could not obtain module order from esximage db
The installation profile could not be validated due to the following errors:
VIB VMware_bootbank_net-r8168_8.013.00-3vmw.510.0.0.799733 is obsoleted by set([‘VMware_bootbank_misc-drivers_6.0.0-0.0.2494585’])

Add Realtek R8168 Driver into an ESXi 6.0 ISO
1.  Download the “net55-r8168-8.039.01-napi-offline_bundle.zip” file (ESXi 5.5 and 6.0 only)
My download mirror: net55-r8168-8.039.01-napi-offline_bundle.zip
2. Download ESXi-Customizer-v2.7.2.  Even though it is meant for ESXi 4.1/5.1/5.5 it works perfectly fine with ESXi 6.0 and created a usable iso.
My download mirror: ESXi-Customizer-v2.7.2.exe
ESXi 6.0 Customizer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Use “unetbootin-windows-608.exe” to install the generated iso to a USB disk
http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

SOURCES:
Driver provided from this site: https://vibsdepot.v-front.de/wiki/index.php/Net55-r8168
ESXi Customizer provided from this site: http://www.v-front.de/p/esxi-customizer.html

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29 Responses to Adding Realtek R8168 Driver to an ESXi 6.0 ISO

  1. Tom says:

    I had the same problem, and this fixed it. Very clear instructions. Thank you.

  2. Kimppikoo says:

    Thanks Mate! Only in Windows 10 you must edit the Customizer script as it does not handle version info correctly. But now ESXi 6 is running happily with 2 Realtek network adapters =)

  3. dem says:

    Muchas, muchas gracias!!!
    Estoy probándolo para ESXi 6 update 2 🙂
    Espero funcione, pero creo que va a andar!

    • Thierry Kurt says:

      Funciona perfecto! , lo unico que no me funciona bien es que creando un vswitch con ip publicos no encuentra bien el ip publico , no se si sera por el driver , pero a nivel local funciona al pelo

  4. neil says:

    Thank you so much. And you hosted the solution Awesome!

  5. Big Man A says:

    Just want to say thank you!

    I came across your blog when I was googling the error you posted. Worked a treat.

  6. organ2 says:

    Thank you. It helped me.

  7. Hans Altmann says:

    Many thanks !!! It was a great help for me !

  8. Hollly Sh**! I Agree whith TOM! That is Very very clear instructions, very simple, very easy. Thank you sooooooo muchh!
    I searched several sites and never found an effective solution since joined this site was the only solution in this my problem!

  9. Marius says:

    Thank you very much. It worked for me!

  10. Li Zhigang says:

    Many Thanks!
    It works.
    非常感谢!真的可以用啊。

  11. Jens says:

    Thanks … worked first time! Great job 🙂

  12. José Alves Neto says:

    Thank you very much, It work for me too! this information is very usefull home labs!!!

  13. Alex Ghiban says:

    If you wanna do this and you are running windows 10 the script will not let you. Just add REM at the beginning of line # 45 ( REM call :check_win_ver || exit /b 1) – should look like this once done.

    now just run the file again and it will work! Enjoy

  14. Ophion says:

    Thanks to people like you world is better for us. Awesome tutorial and well explained.

  15. jessouaffe says:

    very clear,
    definitly useful
    thanks for your gift.

  16. Thanks, I can confirm this worked for my mobo.
    I have a GA-F2A88XM-D3HP mobo, with realtek ethernet.
    I used the esxi 6 update 2 ISO, net55-r8168-8.039.01-napi-offline_bundle.zip and ESXI customizer 2.7.2

    As suggested, if you run windows 10, remove these lines from the .bat script:

    ——————-
    if /I “%1″==”silent” goto :eof
    if “!WinVer!”==”5.0” call :logCons — INFO: Running on Windows 2000. What?!
    if “!WinVer!”==”5.1” call :logCons — INFO: Running on Windows XP.
    if “!WinVer!”==”5.2” call :logCons — INFO: Running on Windows Server 2003.
    if “!WinVer!”==”6.0” call :logCons — INFO: Running on Windows Vista or Server 2008.
    if “!WinVer!”==”6.1” call :logCons — INFO: Running on Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2.
    if “!WinVer!”==”6.2” call :logCons — INFO: Running on Windows 8 or Server 2012.
    if “!WinVer!”==”6.3” call :logCons — INFO: Running on Windows 8.1 or Server 2012 R2.
    if “!WinVer!” GTR “6.3” call :logCons — WARNING: Running on a Windows newer than 8.1 / 2012 R2. Don’t know if this will work …
    if “!WinVer!” LSS “5.1” call :earlyFatal Unsupported Windows Version: !WinVer!. At least Windows XP is required & exit /b 1
    if “!WinVer!” NEQ “6.1” call :logCons — WARNING: Your Windows version is supported for customizing ESXi 5.x, but not ESXi 4.1.
    ——————-

  17. I think this website holds very superb pent written content posts.

  18. Kevin Orlando says:

    Muchas gracias , funciono a la perfeccion y sin errores.

  19. Edouard Dessioux says:

    Hi,

    You can also :
    – download net55-r8168-8.039.01-napi-offline_bundle.zip
    – add it to the data bank
    – use SSH to launch
    esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/Interne\ RAID1\+0/VIB/net55-r8168-8.039.01-napi-offline_bundle.zip

    Then at reboot, the card is detected.

    Thanks for the mirror and explanations.

  20. Guillaume Quitard says:

    Hi,
    Thanks my network card is detected and i could install esxi 6 but unfortunately my server haven’t ip dhcp and if i add manually the network configuration, it doesn’t run to.

  21. Aled Hughes says:

    Hi,
    I’ve successfully installed this driver in to an existing ESXi 6.5 setup however the card does not appear in the Networking > Physical NICs section in the ESXi web interface.

    Running `lspci -v` shows the NIC is there and has been allocated the name `vmnic1`:

    0000:04:00.0 Ethernet controller Network controller: D-Link System Inc DGE-528T PCI Gigabit Ethernet Adapter [vmnic1]
    Class 0200: 1186:4300

    However when I run `esxcfg-nics -l` I just get the current Intel nic and nothing else:

    Name PCI Driver Link Speed Duplex MAC Address MTU Description
    vmnic0 0000:00:1f.6 ne1000 Up 1000Mbps Full 64:00:6a:3f:68:47 1500 Intel Corporation Ethernet Connection (2) I219-V

    Any ideas on what I need to do to get the DGE-528T device to be usable?

  22. sree rama says:

    Excellent post, it worked like a Charm for me. Thanks a lot

  23. Raquel says:

    Hello mates, how is the whole thing, and what you want to say on the topic of this
    post, in my view its really remarkable designed for me.

  24. Rannie says:

    Very helpful blog, thank you very much

  25. shanib says:

    nfs41 client problem solved… thank you very much…..another probel is

    the system has found a problem on your machine and connot continue
    Failed to validate acceptance levels: Failed to check accetance levels:none

  26. GarGi says:

    Real s**t.
    Even worked with Esxi 6.5
    F**king thanks.

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