Installing different license keys in ESXi 3.5
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Installing different license keys in ESXi 3.5


Article ID: 328206


Updated On:




This article provides steps to license and install the different versions of ESXi 3.5 including free Hypervisor and purchased keys.


When you register to receive ESXi 3.5, you receive a link to download your license and the software. This serial number is tied to your Customer Connect account. As ESXi 3.5 is now End-of-Life from VMware, new licensing for ESXi 3.5 and the the rest of the vSphere 2.5 suite (VirtualCenter 2.5) will no longer be available. Only existing customers who have previously purchased ESXi 3.5 licenses from VMware will have access to download the product.

For more information about End-of-Life products from VMware, see VMware Support Policies - End of Availability section.

For information on accessing your existing VMware licenses, see Viewing license keys in Customer Connect (2006831).

Installing and licensing ESXi 3.5

Note: For more detailed instructions, see the Getting Started Guide and the Setup Guide .
  1. After you have your serial number, connect to your ESXi 3.5 host using VMware Infrastructure Client.

    Note: You can download the client installer from your ESXi 3.5 host by browsing to http://hostname_or_IP_address.

  2. Go to the Configuration tab and look for Licensed Features.

  3. Click Edit for License Source.
  4. In the License Sources window, select Use Serial Number. Enter the serial number and click OK.

  5. Click Edit for ESX Server Edition (see the figure in step 2).
  6. In the ESX Server Edition window, select ESX Server Standalone.
Note: The free serial number can be applied only to ESXi 3.5 Update 2 and later. Serial numbers used from earlier releases of ESXi 3.5 are still compatible. If the free serial number is used on earlier releases of ESXi 3.5, the following error message might appear, and the host is not licensed:

There are not enough licenses installed to perform the operation.

See the table below for a compatibility matrix:


Serial Number


ESXi 3.5 Update 1 and earlierPurchased Serial NumberSupported
ESXi 3.5 Update 1 and earlierFree Serial NumberNot supported
ESXi 3.5 Update 2 and laterPurchased Serial NumberSupported
ESXi 3.5 Update 2 and laterFree Serial NumberSupported