Patch VMware ESXi hosts using command line

There a several ways to patch a VMware ESXi server. vSphere Update Manager (VUM) can update for example a complete ESXi host cluster fully automatic. vSphere Update Manager requires a vCenter Server. When you don’t have a vCenter Server patching can be done from the command line.

Here is a quick overview how to patch an ESXi host;

Step 1. Download the latest patch bundle from the VMware Web site, link

Step 2. Upload the patch bundle (zip) to a datastore with the vSphere Client or using vSphere Web Client.

Step 3. Enable SSH (Start the SSH service and make a SSH session to the ESXi host).

Step 4. Put the host in maintenance mode.

Step 5. Install the patch bundle

NOTE: Using esxcli with the install method has the possibility of overwriting existing drivers. If you are using third-party ESXi images, VMware recommends using the update method to prevent an unbootable state. The following command will install the patch bunde:
Install: esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore/

Update: esxcli software vib update -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore/


  • In the above given example, we have used (-d) switch to install the bundle, if you wish to install an individual VIB you may use the (-v) switch instead of (-d).
  • The volume and the related datastore information can be retrived through the Vsphere client.

Step 6. After the successful Installation, you may reboot the host and remove the Maintenance Mode.

Author: Chathura Ariyadasa

A highly talented IT professional with extensive experience and capabilities in performing a variety of IT Security, Computer Networking and IT Help Desk duties and responsibilities in the IT Department.