edited by lunarg on October 14th 2022, at 14:41

In order to install a fresh copy of Windows Server on a VM with the VMWare Paravirtual SCSI controller, as the driver for the PVSCSI adapter is not included in the default Windows Server ISO, you would use the built-in floppy images to make the PVSCSI driver available during the installation, avoiding the need to install using a different SCSI controller and then swap the controller after the installation of the guest OS and VMWare Tools.

To facilitate this, you would add a virtual floppy drive, connect the correct floppy image containing the PVSCSI driver, and then load the driver during the disk selection portion of the installation wizard. Unfortunately, since the deprecation of the Flash-based version of the vSphere client, it is no longer possible to add a virtual floppy drive and connect the floppy image.

Fortunately, it is still possible to use PowerCLI to add a virtual floppy drive and the subsequent floppy image. After creating the virtual machine, fire up PowerCLI and log on using your credentials:

Connect-ViServer -Server fqdn-of-vc-or-esxi -Credential (Get-Credential)

Look up the name of the VM as it is registered in VCenter or ESXi. Note that when using spaces, enclose the name in quotes.

Use New-FloppyDrive to add a virtual floppy drive and connect the correct virtual floppy drive:

Get-VM "name of vm" | New-FloppyDrive -FloppyImagePath "[] /vmimages/floppies/pvscsi-Windows8.flp" -StartConnected

The vmimages folder is a built-in folder present on each ESXi host, similar to the VMWare Tools ISO. Adjust the floppy image file name to correspond with the selected guest OS version:

  • pvscsi-Windows8.flp → Windows 2012 and newer, Windows 8 and newer
  • pvscsi-Windows2008.flp → Windows 2008, 2008R2
  • pvscsi-WindowsVista.flp → Windows Vista and 7

Note that the floppy drive path is case-sensitive: the W in "Windows" is a capital W.

Next, start the VM and perform the installation. During the disk selection, load the driver from the connected virtual floppy, and continue the installation:

To remove the floppy drive after the installation, power down the VM and use PowerCLI to remove the floppy drive:

Get-VM "name of vm" | Get-FloppyDrive | Remove-FloppyDrive -Confirm:$false
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