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Upgrading a virtual machine to the latest hardware version (multiple versions) (1010675)

Purpose

This article provides information about upgrading a virtual machine to the latest hardware version.

Resolution

You can upgrade the hardware version of virtual machines to the latest version of ESXi in use. For virtual machines that are running on ESXi 5.x, VMware recommends that you upgrade the virtual hardware to the latest available version.

ESXi/ESX versionVirtual hardware version
ESXi 5.510
ESXi 5.19
ESXi 5.08
ESXi/ESX 4.1/4.07
ESXi/ESX 3.54

When upgrading virtual hardware, consider these points:
  • When you upgrade from virtual hardware version 4 to version 7, 8, 9, or 10, the upgrade is reversible if you take a virtual machine backup or snapshot before performing the upgrade.
  • Upgraded virtual machines cannot be powered on by an ESX 2.x host, even if relocated to a VMFS 2 datastore.
  • To automate this process, consider using vCenter Update Manager for virtual machine upgrades. For more information, see Understanding Update Manager in the Installing and Administering VMware vSphere Update Manager guide.
  • vCenter Update Manager takes automatic snapshots before performing virtual machine upgrades. For more information, see Perform an Orchestrated Upgrade of Virtual Machines with vSphere Update Manager in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.
  • When you upgrade virtual hardware, no downtime is required for vCenter Server or ESXi/ESX hosts. For virtual machines, the only significant downtime is the time to shut down and restart the guest operating systems.
Before you upgrade the virtual hardware:
  1. Create a backup or snapshot of the virtual machine. For more information see the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide:


  2. Upgrade VMware Tools. On Microsoft Windows virtual machines, if you upgrade the virtual hardware before you upgrade VMware Tools, the virtual machine might lose its network settings.
  3. Verify that all .vmdk files are available to the ESXi/ESX hosts on a VMFS 3, VMFS 5, or NFS datastore.
  4. Verify that the virtual machines are stored on VMFS 3, VMFS 5 or NFS datastores.
  5. Determine the version of the virtual hardware by selecting the virtual machine from the vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client and clicking the Summary tab. The VM Version label in the Compatibility field displays the virtual hardware version.

Upgrading virtual hardware on a single virtual machine

To upgrade the virtual hardware of a single virtual machine:

Note: In a vSphere 5.5 environment, you must use the vSphere Web Client to upgrade the virtual hardware to version 10. However, when the virtual machine is using hardware version 10, you cannot edit the settings of the virtual machine if you connect directly to an ESXi host with the vSphere Client. You must use the vSphere Web Client or connect to vCenter Server with the vSphere Client. If you connect directly to an ESXi host using the vSphere Client and attempt to edit virtual machine settings, you see the error:
You cannot use the vSphere client to edit the settings of virtual machines of version 10 or higher. Use the vSphere Web Client to edit the settings of this virtual machine.
  1. Start the vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client and log in to the vCenter Server.
  2. Power off the virtual machine.
  3. Right-click the virtual machine and select the menu option to upgrade virtual hardware:

    • In the vSphere Client, the option is Upgrade Virtual Hardware.
    • In the vSphere Web Client, the option is Compatibility > Upgrade VM Compatibility.

      The virtual hardware is upgraded to the latest supported version.

      Note: The Upgrade Virtual Hardware or Upgrade VM Compatibility options only appear if the virtual hardware on the virtual machine is not the latest supported version.

  4. Click Yes to continue with the virtual hardware upgrade.
  5. Power on the virtual machine.

    Note: If the virtual machine has a Microsoft Windows guest operating system, the operating system detects a new device, configures the device, and may prompt you to reboot the guest operating system. If any unknown devices are recognized, the operating system may prompt you to configure the device manually.

  6. For Windows guest operating systems, reboot the guest operating system to make the changes take effect.

Upgrading virtual hardware on multiple virtual machines

You can upgrade virtual hardware on multiple virtual machines in a single operation using the Virtual Machines tab.

Note: In a vSphere 5.5 environment, you must use the vSphere Web Client to upgrade the virtual hardware to version 10. When the virtual machine is using hardware version 10, you cannot edit the settings of the virtual machine if you connect directly to an ESXi host with the vSphere Client. You must use the vSphere Web Client or connect to vCenter Server with the vSphere Client. If you connect directly to an ESXi host using the vSphere Client and attempt to edit virtual machine settings, you see the error:
You cannot use the vSphere client to edit the settings of virtual machines of version 10 or higher. Use the vSphere Web Client to edit the settings of this virtual machine.
To upgrade virtual hardware on multiple virtual machines:

  1. Start the vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client and log in to the vCenter Server.
  2. Select the host or cluster that contains the virtual machines to upgrade.
  3. Click the Virtual Machines tab.
  4. Select and power off the virtual machines to upgrade.
  5. Right-click your selections.
  6. Select Upgrade Virtual Hardware and click Yes.
  7. Power on the virtual machines.

    Note: For Microsoft Windows guest operating systems, the operating system detects a new device, configures the device, and may prompt you to reboot the guest operating system. If any unknown devices are recognized, the operating system may prompt you to configure the device manually.

  8. For Windows guest operating systems, reboot the guest operating system to make the changes take effect.

Ensuring that your virtual machine is upgraded to latest hardware version

To ensure that your virtual machine is upgraded to latest hardware version:
  1. Migrate the virtual machine from a host with an earlier ESXi/ESX version to a host with the latest ESXi/ESX version. For more information, see Migrating Virtual Machines in the vSphere Web Client in the vCenter Server and Host Management guide.
  2. Power on the virtual machine.
  3. Upgrade VMware Tools and reboot if required. For more information, see Installing VMware Tools in vSphere (2004754).

    Note: Upgrading VMware Tools must be done before upgrading the virtual hardware.

  4. Shut down the virtual machine and upgrade the virtual hardware.
  5. Power on the virtual machine.

    Note: In some instances, the operating system may require you to reboot the virtual machine after powering it on.

  6. Ensure all the virtual machine network settings (such as IP, DHCP, and DNS) are correct.

    Notes:
    • If you are using dynamic DNS, some Windows versions require the ipconfig /registerdns command to be run.
    • If you are using DHCP, a new IP address may be assigned because the MAC address changes on the virtual NIC during the hardware upgrade. If you are using statically assigned DHCP addresses, ensure that you assign the new MAC address the IP address you were using before the virtual hardware upgrade.

Additional Information

You can upgrade VMware Tools and the virtual hardware manually from within each virtual machine or you can use VMware vCenter Update Manager.

For more information on manually upgrading VMware Tools and virtual hardware, see:
For more information on upgrading VMware Tools and virtual hardware using vCenter Update Manager, see the VMware vCenter Update Manager documentation.

For best practices on updating, see:
Note: The virtual machine compatibility setting determines the virtual hardware available to the virtual machine, which corresponds to the physical hardware available on the host. You can review and compare the hardware available for different compatibility levels to help you determine whether to upgrade the virtual machines in your environment.

For more information, see the Hardware Features Available with Virtual Machine Compatibility Settings section in the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide.Hardware Features Available with Virtual Machine Compatibility Settings section of the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration guide.

For translated versions of this article, see:

See Also

Update History

04/06/2010 - Added information about DHCP and statically assigned MAC addresses. 10/03/2013 - Added note about using vSphere Web Client in vSphere 5.5 environment.

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