I have encountered the issue several times on different client sites and it seems it is still not resolved. When looking for the document that states the issue, I found out that a lot of people are encountering the issue, so I choose to post it here.

The issue:

You boot your Esxi vm via Pxe and even though it seems to start properly, it quickly fails with the following error message:

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:

1. insert you Windows installation disc and restart your computer.
2. Choose your language setting, and then click “Next.”
3. Click “Repair your computer.”

If you do not have the disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.

Status: 0xc0000001

Info: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible.

This is simply due to a bug that has been present now for a few years on VMware ESX. The bug has been resolved (although it reappared in ESX 5)

As a temporary workaround, change the client adapter to e1000 in the config file, or boot with an image.

See Knowledge Base article 1009104 for explanation and fixes.

See Knowledge Base article 1003020 for workaround to use e1000.

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