How to Create Images by Using vSphere ESXi Image Builder

Are you tired of deploying VMware ESXi images that are bloated with unnecessary components and settings? Try to create customized ESXi images tailored to your specific needs today!


By Zelia / Updated on May 5, 2023

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What is vSphere ESXi image builder

vSphere ESXi Image Builder is a tool in the VMware vSphere platform for creating and customizing images of the ESXi operating system. It allows administrators to create personalized ESXi images based on their needs to meet specific application requirements, security requirements and management requirements.

vSphere Image Builder is a component in VMware vSphere. With it you can create ESXi images that meet specific hardware and software requirements based on specific needs, and it also provides the following benefits:

  • Custom image creation: It allows you to create custom ESXi images based on your specific needs. This can help you meet specific hardware and software requirements and improve system performance and security.
  • Automation and batching: You can automate and batch the creation and management of ESXi images with it. This helps you increase efficiency and reduce errors from manual intervention.
  • Repeatability: Images created with it ensure consistent deployment across your vSphere environment. This helps you improve system stability and maintainability, and reduces management costs.
  • Update management: It helps you manage updates to your ESXi images, including security patches and the addition of new packages. This helps you keep your system secure and up-to-date.
  • Multiple deployment options: You can create multiple deployment options with it, including standard, custom, and extended. This can help you meet different business needs and increase system flexibility.


How to create custom ESXi images using vSphere image builder

To create custom ESXi images using vSphere Image Builder, you can follow these steps:

Step 1. Log in to the vCenter server system by using the vSphere web client. Then click Import to upload your ESXi driver zip file.


Step 2. Click New on the top right, and create a Custom depot (It will all your new ESXi custom images).


Step 3. In Image Profiles, select the ESXi image profile and click Clone. Then set the Name, Vendor and add the Description for the new custom image profile.


Step 4. Specify the Acceptance level (optional) and filter the additional drivers which you need to incorporate, and click Next.


Step 5. In Ready to complete, check whether there are conflicts or not, and click Finish.


Step 6. Navigate to Software Depots (CUSTOMISO) >> Image Profiles. Select the custom image profile and click Export. Then download the file you have exported to your desktop.


* There will be two options - ISO or ZIP, choose one and click OK to download the file.



How to use PowerCLI to create a custom ESXi image

If you would like to use PowerCLI to create a custom ESXi image, here are the specific steps for you:

Step 1. Download all required tools:

VMware PowerCLI

ESXi Base offline bundle

ESXi driver or software you need to add to custom ISO

Step 2. Import the software depots: In windows machine, start the VMware PowerCLI and import the software depots. Then use “Add-EsxSoftwareDepot cmdlet” to import the offline bundle you have download in step 1.

Add-EsxSoftwareDepot “VMware ESXi Offline File with path”
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot “Driver or any other management pack file with path”
Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\


* Use “Get-EsxImageProfile cmdlet” to list the image profiles. The “ft name” can filter full name of the profile.

Get-EsxImageProfile | ft Name

filter-full-name-of the-profile

Step 3. Create the image profile: Use “New-EsxImageProfile cmdlet” to create an image profile. Provide a vendor name and tap on ENTER.

New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile “Profile Name listed Above step” -Name “New Image Name” -vendor “”
New-EsxImageProfile-CloneProfile ESXi-6.5.0-20190804001-standard-Name ESXICUSTOM


Note: You can also avoid providing the vendor name by using the following command line.

New-EsxImageProfile-CloneProfile ESXi-6.5.0-20190804001-standard -Name ESXICUSTOM -vendor VMware

Step 4. Add the driver or custom file: Use the following command to add.

Add-EsxSoftwarePackage-ImageProfile “New Image Name” -SoftwarePackage “driver” -Force
Add-EsxSoftwarePackage-ImageProfile ESXICUSTOM-SoftwarePackage net-tulip-Force


Step 5. Change the acceptance level: Run the following command to change it to community supported.

Set-EsxImageProfile-AcceptanceLevel CommunitySupported–ImageProfile “NEW IMAGE NAME”
Set-EsxImageProfile-AcceptanceLevel CommunitySupported–ImageProfile ESXICUSTOM


Step 6. Create the custom ESXi ISO: Use the following command to export the image profile as the ISO file.

Export-EsxImageProfile-ImageProfile ESXICUSTOM-FilePath D:\share\ESXIIMAGE ESXICUSTOM.iso-ExportToIso-Force

After all of the steps, you will get the ESXi image, and you can navigate to export location to check the image is available or not.

An efficient software for protecting VMware VMs

After creating an ESXi image, don't take any chances with the integrity of your VMs either. With the growing importance of VMs, it has become crucial for your organizations to ensure that they have a reliable backup solution in place.

So here is AOMEI Cyber Backup, a VMware backup software that provides protection against VM data loss due to hardware failure, software bugs, human errors, or even cyber-attacks. Without proper backup procedures, your organizations risk losing critical data and applications, which could have devastating consequences for your business. In addition, virtualized environments can be complex, making it critical to have a backup strategy that is specifically designed to protect VMs.

Agentless Image Backup: Create independent and image-based backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs.
Support Free ESXi: Support both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi.
Multiple Storage Destinations: Backup to local or network share destinations.
Automated Hot Backup: Auto backup running VMs and notify you via email.
Restore from Any Point: Restore a whole VM to usable state from any history backup version.

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

And here are the steps on how to quickly back up ESXi VMs after installing:

Step 1. Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup, select Source Device, click VMware >> +Add VMware Device. Then Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi to add a host. And then click to Bind Device.


Step 2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task >> +Create New Task. Then select VMware ESXi Backup for Backup Type. After that, set the Task Name, Device, Target, Schedule and Cleanup according to your need.


Step 3. Click Start Backup and choose Add the schedule and start backup now or Add the schedule only.


Step 4. When your backups are completed, it’s simple to restore entire VM from your backups. Navigate to Start Restore, you can change restore to original location or here to create a new VM or another datastore/host.



While vSphere ESXi Image Builder offers many benefits that can help you improve system security, efficiency and flexibility, it is not enough. There is no highest level of security, only comparative level, and you should constantly optimize the security of your data. Thus, other security initiatives like backups for data protection are also essential.

Zelia · Editor
Zelia is an editor from AOMEI Technology.She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. Writing is one of her hobbies and she wants her articles to be seen by more people. In her spare time, she likes to draw and listen to music, and it is a pleasure for her to focus on her own world.