How to install Rocky linux on Vmware ESXi 5.5?

I try to install Rocky linux on old Vmware ESXi 5.5 and kernel panic

It is normally installed on ESXi 6.5.
And I don’t want to upgrade 5.5 to 6.5.

Hmm. I installed a couple of Rocky 8.5 servers on our ESXi 5.5 and didn’t see any issues.

I downloaded Rocky-8.5-x86_64-dvd1.iso onto my PC, then from vSphere client, I created a new VM, custom, gave a name, ‘VM version 8’, Linux, Version CentOS 4/5/6/7 64bit (there was no 8 option), # of cores, RAM, Nic, LSI Logic SAS, thin provision, and finish. Powered it up and then mapped CD/DVD drive 1 to the iso image. Installed as usual.

Which Linux version inside ESXi did you select?

Thank you for your reply.
I have many servers ESXi 5.5, and it doesn’t work on any of them. I tried different ISO, both dvd and minimal.
I tried to do the same as you wrote.
Here are the screenshots with my attempts:


We have exact same ESXi and vSphere Client versions and builds. I did a test install for Rocky 8.5 with matching specs from your screenshots and I was able to install the ‘Server without gui’. It boots up fine. See attached screenshot.

We have Dell PE R630 servers with 20 cores, 192GB RAM, and 2TB raid.

Were you able to install RedHat 8/CentOS 8 before?


I moved our ESXi 5.5 servers to Proxmox 7.2 and couldn’t be more happier. I clustered them up. Now I can live migrate VMs among them (with no shared storage) and the downtime is in merely milliseconds for each VM. We have VMs that run Rocky8, CentOS7, Ubuntu, Solaris11, Windows 2008R2 - 2019 DCs, and Windows10. I am going to set up a couple of oVirt servers tomorrow to do some comparisons.