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Understanding ESXi Patches – Finding Patches

Kyle Gleed, Sr. Technical Product Manager, VMware

I recently met with a customer who was confused about patching ESXi hosts.  Not only did she have questions about where to find patches, she was confused about what to do with them once she finally had them.  I know she’s not alone so I figured a refresher on ESXi patching would be helpful.

Of course the easiest way to manage ESXi host patches is with Update Manager, and for most of us this simply entails letting Update Manager automatically downloads patches as they become available and then scheduling a time to remediate the hosts.  However, there are situations where Update Manager may not be allowed access to the Internet in order to automatically download patches.  In addition, there are some who, for whatever reason, either cannot or choose not to use Update Manager.  For these folks patching is still very easy, although a little bit more involved. 

Probably the easiest way to get a list of available patches is from VMware’s online patch portal at  From the patch portal you simply select the architecture (ESX or ESXi), specify your version, and then click the search button.  The screen shot below shows my query to get all the ESXi 5.0 patches.


The search will return a list showing all the available ESXi 5.0 patches.  For each patch you will see the name, size, and download information on the left and a list of all the updates included in the patch on the right.  Note that for each fix there is also a link to a related KB article where you can get more information about a specific fix or update.


To download the patch simply select it by clicking in the checkbox next to the patch name and click the “Download Now” button.  You can download a single patch or multiple patches.   Each patch will be saved as a separate .zip file.  Once you’ve downloaded the patches you have a few options on how to install them.  Again, probably the easiest way to install patches is using Update Manager, but you can also use the ESXCLI command or PowerCLI.  In addition you can also use the Image Builder CLI to add the patch to your installation ISO so that it will automatically be included when you install new ESXi hosts.  Stay tuned as over the next few days I'll be posting the steps for each these options… 

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