- Floppy drive (depending on version & type of client in use)
- Floppy adapter
- IDE ports
- Serial ports
- Parallel ports
Step 1: create a new VM
Step 2: Set VM name and select a location
Step 3: Select a compute resource
Step 4: Select storage
Step 6: Select the guest OS you'll install
Step 7a: Customize hardware: CPU, Memory, Hard Drive
Step 7b: Attach NIC to a general-purpose or remediation network port
Step 7d: Jump to the Options tab and set "Force BIOS setup"
Step 8: Finish creating the VM
Step 9: Open remote console for VM
Step 10: Power On the VM. IT should pause at the BIOS editor screen.
Step 14: Switch to the Boot page. By default, removable devices are first in the boot order.
Step 17: Install the guest OS, then add VMware Tools. Perform any additional customization—e.g., patching, updates, and generalization—then convert the new VM to a template.
You're set! No more useless devices in your guest that take cycles from the OS or hypervisor.
Additional Note on modifying existing VMs:
Aside from the need to power down existing VMs that you might want to clean up with this same procedure, the only issue I've run into after doing the device + BIOS cleanup is making sure I get the right combination of IDE channels & IDE CD-ROM attachment. The number of times I've set "Primary" in BIOS but forgot to change the CD-ROM to IDE 0:0 is ... significant.
Additional Note on Floppy Drives:
Floppy drive handling is a special case, and will very much depend on which version of vSphere—and therefore, the management client—you're using. If you have the "Flex" client (or are still using v6.0 and have the C# client), the new VM will have a floppy disk device added by default. Naturally, you want to remove it as part of your Hardware Customization step during new VM deployment.
If you're happily using the HTML5 Web Client, you may find that the floppy is neither present, nor manageable (for adding/removing or attaching media)... This is the 0.1% of feature parity that I still find lacking in the H5 client. Hopefully, it'll get added, if for no better reason than to allow an admin to remove floppy devices that are still part of VMs that were created in older versions.