Solve Network Card Not Detected issue for VMWare ESXi 5.5 – DLink 528T and RTL8139DL NICs

Hello everyone,

Recently I thought of utilizing a spare system to set up my small Visualization lab at my home. It is a Core2Duo System 3 GHz with 4gig RAM and 1 TB HDD.

Huh, the moment I tried to install ESXi 5.5 from the boot disk, the installation halted saying “No compatible network card detected” and bla bla…. It was really a sad moment seeing that on my first hypervisor installation.

Oh by the way, I was using PCI NICs which were:

1. DLink 528T – gigabit NIC

2. RTL8139DL – 10/100 mbps NIC

Now this is what I did to make these two work.

  1. Download the following .vib files (according to your needs):
    a. Realtek R8168 
    b. Realtek R8169
    c. Realtek R8139
    d. Realtek R8168
    e. DLink 528T
  2. Download the ESXi customizer tool :   ESXi customizer
  3. Now you can install the above files in any two ways.
    Pre install (Using the ESXi customizer tool)
    Post install (Using SSH Console)

First Method (Using the ESXi customizer tool):

This method is quite self explanatory. Still if u face any problem feel free post your query in the comments section.


Second Method (Using the SSH Console):

This is where I use my favorite tool : Putty

  1. Enable SSH for ESXi 5.5 -> Configuration > Security Profiles > Properties > SSH > Options > Start and stop with host > Start
  2. After enabling SSH, we login to the console using putty. The username and password is same as that of the vsphere client.
  3. We then copy the .vib file to the datastore location. In my case the name of the datastore is datastore1.
  4. Then we issue the following command :
    esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/8139.vib
  5. Here 8139.vib is the file name of the driver.
  6. After some time, it will give u a installation successful message.
  7. Then restart the server.
  8. Now you can see the NIC listed in your server.

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