Windows Server 2012 (and Windows 8) on VMWare ESXi 4.1

Due to the limitations of ESXi 5.1 i don’t want to install one in my Network. So i’m searched for a solution to run Windows Server 2012 (and Windows 8) on ESXi 4.1. After surfing around on the net i finally found a working solution in the VMWare forum.

The following steps are done on own risk:


  • Create a  new VM over the vSphere Client.
  • As “Guest Operating System” i used Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit)
  • If you finished the creation of the VM download the follwing bios file and upload it to your ESXi datastore
  • Move the bios file to the folder of the new VM
  • Now open the .vmx file of the new VM and add the follwing lines
    • bios440.filename = "bios.440.rom"
    • mce.enable = TRUE
    • cpuid.hypervisor.v0 = FALSE
    • vmGenCounter.enable = FALSE

Now start the new VM and install Windows Server 2012 (or Windows 8) :-)


  • Jasu
    February 7, 2013 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Worked for me, thanks!

  • Wayne
    February 24, 2013 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Hi Guys

    I tried it but no joy for me, still keep getting the same install error of needing to restart the PC, hold down the power button, error code.

    Maybe I’m not doing something right? I’m running esx 4.1

    can email you the config file to check out?


    • skydriver
      February 24, 2013 - 12:26 pm | Permalink


      which version of ESXi 4.1 do you use?
      I tried all with 4.1 update 3.


  • Jeremy P
    March 1, 2013 - 7:59 pm | Permalink

    All i can say is thank you! I have VMWare EXSi Version 4.1 and this worked. Awesome little fix

  • Jeremy P
    March 1, 2013 - 8:02 pm | Permalink

    oh for that install issue I started off with a new VM with nothing on it, Forces it to go to bios first to make sure that it was booting from CD first, then I link the ISO file in the data base, and did a custom install.

  • Mederic M
    May 8, 2013 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing the tip, worked perfectly for me!

  • Felix S
    May 15, 2013 - 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Worked like a charm. Spent half the day trying to figure out why it wasnt working. Didnt realize 4.1 doesnt support W8 =)


  • TheOldMan
    May 15, 2013 - 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Excellent! I got it to work on both EXSi 4.1 and the old VMware Server v1 running on Linux!

  • Leo
    May 16, 2013 - 6:08 am | Permalink

    This tip works great! There is only one issue…..CTRL-ALT-INS isn’t working anymore on the VM’s that are working with this ROM. Any workaround for this issue?

    • skydriver
      May 16, 2013 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Hi Leo,

      do you want to use this command over an RDP session?
      If yes, check KB 1025282


  • anton
    July 8, 2013 - 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you guy!

  • marc matthes
    August 7, 2013 - 8:59 pm | Permalink

    BIOS bios440 has unexpected file size 0×8128; not in the range [0x262144..0x524288].

  • marc matthes
    August 7, 2013 - 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I get this error when I use this settings

    BIOS bios440 has unexpected file size 0×8128; not in the range [0x262144..0x524288].
    its running on a Dell R710 with 72 gig of RAM and 6 tera of HD
    VmWare 4.1.0 rev 260247

    • Chris Pretorius
      September 10, 2013 - 11:21 pm | Permalink

      Hi Marc

      I’m getting a similar error message after having made the changes above (BIOS .bios440 has unexpected file size…).

      Have you managed to find a workaround to this? I’m using 4.0.0 rev 244038…


      • skydriver
        September 11, 2013 - 8:27 am | Permalink

        Sorry, i just run the workaround with ESXi 4.1
        Maybe there is a relation to the size of your Harddisk. It don’t have a server with a disk greater then 700GB and vmware installed on it. I only have greater disks as datastore2 or 3

        I saw in the vmware forum that someone had the same issue. But he don’t get a response jet. :-(


  • Aiden
    October 19, 2013 - 10:00 pm | Permalink

    I can do the basics of creating and administering a new vm but not sure how to do the following

    Move the bios file to the folder of the new VM
    Now open the .vmx file of the new VM


    • skydriver
      October 20, 2013 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Hi Aiden,

      you must upload the bios-file with you vSphere client into the folder of your new VM on the datastore of your ESXi.
      This little video shows you how you upload a file to the datastore.


  • Andriesh
    October 31, 2013 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks! Worked like a charm!!!

  • Tom
    December 18, 2013 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    thx much worked for me without problem

  • Comments are closed.