I started to notice yesterday that a few folks in the community were running into the following error after upgrading their ESXi hosts to latest 7.0 Update 2 release:
Failed to load crypto64.efi
Fatal error: 15 (Not Found)
— Tim Carman (@tpcarman) March 10, 2021
UPDATE (03/13/2021) – It looks like VMware has just pulled the ESXi online/offline depot and has updated KB 83063 to NOT recommend customers upgrade to ESXi 7.0 Update 2. A new patch is actively being developed and customers should hold off upgrading until that is made available.
UPDATE (03/10/2021) – VMware has just published KB 83063 which includes official guidance relating to the issue mentioned in this blog post.
It was not immediately clear to me on how folks were reaching this state and I had reached out to a few folks in the community to better understand their workflow. It turns out that the upgrade was being initiated from vCenter Server using vSphere Update Manager (VUM) and applying a custom ESXi 7.x Patch baseline to remediate. Upon reboot, the ESXi host would then hit the error as shown above.
Interestingly, I personally have only used Patch baselines for creating ESXi patches (e.g. 6.7p03, 7.0p01) and never for major ESXi upgrades. I normally would import the ESXi ISO and create an Upgrade baseline. At least from the couple of folks I spoke with, it seems like the use of Patch baseline is something they have done for some time and has never given them issues whether it was for a patch or major upgrade release.
I also had some folks internally reach out to me regarding this issue and provided a workaround. At the time, I did not have a good grasp of what was going on. It turns out the community also figured out the same workaround, including how to recover an ESXi host which hits this error as you can not just go through recover workflow.
For those hitting the error above, you just need to create a bootable USB key with ESXi 7.0 Update 2 ISO using Rufus or Unetbootin. Boot the ESXi 7.0 Update 2 Installer and select the upgrade option which will fix the host.
To prevent this from happening, instead of creating or using a Patch baseline, create an Upgrade baseline using ESXi 7.0 Update 2 ISO. You will first need to go to Lifecycle Manager Management Interface in vCenter Server and under “Imported ISOs”, import your iage.
I am not 100% sure, but I believe the reason for this change in behavior is mentioned in the ESXi 7.0 Update 2 release notes under “Patches contained in this Release” section which someone pointed me to. In any case, for major upgrades, I would certainly recommend using Upgrade baseline as that is something I have always used even when I was a customer back in the day.