Installation issue of Manjaro Minimal on ESXI 7.0 on RPI4


I’ve just got an RPI4 8GB and have had the latest ESXI 7.0 built onto it. The ESXI works fine to install debian/centos, so believe ESXI is OK.

However, when I am trying to install below Manjaro image and boot as “Datastore ISO file” of ESXI virtual CD/DVD, it fails and reporting to load from PXE devices over IPV4 and IPV6 and then return back to ESXI BIOS. In the end, the image cannot be loaded.

The message I see is “Start PXE over IPv4”, then “Start PXE over IPv6”, it doesn’t load the Manjaro image from the virtual CD/DVD, and even not when I adjust boot order of CD/DVD device over network devices in ESXI BIOS.

May I know how do you guys install Manjaro on ESXI on RPI4 please.



Manjaro ARM images are not ISO, they are a disk image with a bootable FAT32 partition and an ext4 rootfs partition. Use dd or a similar tool to write the image to a (SD/SSD) drive, or a virtual disk in your case. There is no installation process, just a first boot setup.

Thanks @0n0w1c , manjaro will be a esxi guest os on rpi4 and I can convert the manjaro image file into virtual disk file, e.g., vmdk,

However, I cannot quite understand if the manjaro image contains bootable FAT32 partition, why the converted vmdk cannot be booted by itself under ESXi?

It sounds I would need a bootloader to load the vmdk file instead, or any other way you would recommend?

Thanks again for the help.

I am not very familiar with ESXi, does it have a true RPi VM? Or is it simply an ARM VM?

RPi4 images include the raspberry pi bootloader. For ESXi, I would expect you will need to use the UEFI bootloader (and optionally add grub2). For UEFI, see this link. I was successful creating an image that booted on an x86_64 KVM host, it should work for ESXi too.

It’s a bit interesting now :sweat_smile:

I was using grub2 to boot the kernel in the vmdk, the kernel then stuck at EFI stub.

grub> linux (hd0,msdos1)/kernel8.img root=/dev/sda2
grub> initrd (hd0,msdos1)/boot/initramfs-linux.img
grub> boot

EFI stub: Booting Linux Kernel…
EFI stub: Using DTB from configuration table
EFI stub: Exiting boot services and installing virtual address map…

I believe you hit a known issue with recent rpi4 kernels + uefi. Not sure when this bug will be resolved. Switch to the linux or linux-rc (generic) kernels, they boot fine with uefi. You can even use them on a rpi4, you only lose the headphone jack and v3d. All other rpi4 hardware works. I doubt you will have v3d or headphone jack on a VM anyway.