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ESX 4.0 and later VMware Tools installer attempts to load WDDM display driver on Window 7 virtual machine with hardware version 4 (1014964)

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The VMware Tools installer attempts to install all appropriate drivers for a guest, even when the hardware version of the virtual machine does not support the drivers. ESX 2.5.5 through ESX 3.5.x are based on hardware version 3 and version 4. ESX 4.0.x and 4.1.x are based on hardware version 7.
When you install or upgrade VMware Tools on a Windows 7 virtual machine using hardware version 4 on ESX 4.0 or later versions, the guest loads the Microsoft-provided SVGA driver instead of the display drivers that VMware Tools provides. This process applies to the vSphere virtual machine upgrade process with Windows 7 virtual machines.
On a Windows 7 guest, you can view activity that indicates the WDDM display driver included with the 4.0 or later version of VMware Tools attempts to load and fails. The failure occurs because of a missing interrupt for the display adapter on hardware version 4.
To view WDDM driver activity:
  1. Manually upgrade VMware Tools on the Windows 7 hardware version 4 virtual machine with the Install/Upgrade VMware Tools option.
  2. Restart the guest as part of the manual VMware Tools installation process.
  3. Select Computer Management > Device Manager > Display adapters.
    The VMware SVGA 3D (Microsoft Corporation-WDDM) display adapter appears with the yellow bang signal.
  4. Select VMware SVGA 3D (Microsoft Corporation-WDDM) > Properties.
    The General tab displays the following data.
    Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems.(Code 43)


Even though the WDDM driver appears in the Device Manager, Windows 7 uses the SVGA driver. You can ignore the data and warning messages about the WDDM driver.
If you want to use the WDDM graphics adapter and driver supported by Windows 7, you must upgrade the Windows 7 guest to hardware version 7. For information about the upgrade process, see the vSphere Upgrade Guide on the VMware Documentation Web site.

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