Installing Proxmox Virtual Environment from a USB Flash Drive


This document delineates the steps necessary to perform a clean installation of Proxmox Virtual Environment on a host device using a USB drive as the installation media.


This document assumes the device POSTs successfully with no errors and that the device meets the minimum requirements for Proxmox VE.

Step 1 – Creating Installation Media Using Etcher

To create the installation media, we will be assuming the USB drive will be flashed from a Microsoft Windows workstation or a Linux workstation with a distribution based on Debian/Ubuntu.

Download and install Balena Etcher from this link.

Download the desired version of the Proxmox VE installation ISO from this link.

Connect the USB drive to your workstation.

Open Etcher.

Select the USB drive from the drive list, then select the ISO to flash to the device.

Browse to and select the Proxmox VE installation ISO.

Click Flash! When done, you are ready to plug the USB drive into your intended host.

Step 2 – Booting to the USB Drive

Connect the USB drive to your intended host while it is powered off.

Immediately after power on and POST, we will need to boot from the USB drive. Every equipment manufacturer does this differnetly. For most Dell desktop systems, F12 will be the key to strike. For most HP desktop systems, F8 will be the key to strike. For most Lenovo desktop systems, Esc is the key to strike. Server hardware will vary from vendor to vendor as well.

Power on your intended host and use the appropriate keystroke to bring up the one-time boot menu, then select the USB drive.

Step 3 – Installation of Proxmox VE

Once the Proxmox GRUB installer loads, select Installation (Debug) and strike Enter on the keyboard. A black console screen will appear and the installer will check for attached installation media.

When the console gives the option to exit or strike Ctrl+D to continue installation, strike Ctrl+D.

Do note that you must use the debug install option first otherwise the installation will fail.

You may have to strike Ctrl+D a second time.

The screen will again display the Proxmox VE installer and move you through a series of prompts. Follow the prompts to assign timezone, select the hard disk device to which you’d like to install the system, configure host network settings, root user, etc.

When you reach the end of the installation process, you will be instructed to reboot the host and point another workstation’s web browser to the host URL, which will be the IPv4 address of the host on port 8006 using HTTPS. (Example:

Step 4 – First Run

Once the host has rebooted, your web browser should be able to reach the web portal for your Proxmox host. Log in using the root credential you created during the installation process. The authentication type should be Linux PAM.

You are now able to configure your virtual environment with storage and start spinning up virtual machines and containers.

Additional Information

Additional information on installing the Proxmox Virtual Environment can be found here:

Author: griffethbarker

Griff is a tinkerer and manager of IT, consultant of IT and management, and continuous student of organizational development. His hobbies and interests include games of all types (video, board, dice, card, tabletop, etc.) as well as listening to music, photography, and writing. Find him on LinkedIn!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: