The virtual machine compatibility determines the virtual hardware available to the virtual machine, which corresponds to the physical hardware available on the host machine. You can upgrade the compatibility level to make a virtual machine compatible with the latest version of ESXi running on the host.

This procedure upgrades one or more virtual machines to the latest supported virtual hardware version immediately. To schedule an upgrade for the next virtual machine reboot, and choose from all supported virtual hardware upgrade versions, see Schedule a Compatibility Upgrade for Virtual Machines.

For information about virtual machine hardware versions and compatibility, see Virtual Machine Compatibility.


Upgrading virtual machine hardware is a heavyweight operation that might cause some applications or the operating system to stop working properly. Perform a hardware version upgrade only if you need a feature that comes with the newer hardware version.


  • Create a backup or snapshot of the virtual machines. See Using Snapshots To Manage Virtual Machines.

  • Upgrade VMware Tools. On Microsoft Windows virtual machines, if you upgrade the compatibility before you upgrade VMware Tools, the virtual machine might automatically lose its network settings.

  • Verify that all virtual machines and their .vmdk files are stored on storage connected to the ESXi host or the host cluster.

  • Verify that the compatibility settings for the virtual machines are not the latest supported version.

  • Determine the ESXi versions that you want the virtual machines to be compatible with. See Virtual Machine Compatibility.


  1. Log in to the vCenter Server from the vSphere Web Client.
  2. Select the virtual machines.
    1. Select a datacenter, folder, cluster, resource pool, or host.
    2. Click the Related Objects tab, and click Virtual Machines.
  3. Power off the selected virtual machines.
  4. Select Actions > Compatibility > Upgrade VM Compatibility....
  5. Click Yes to confirm the upgrade.
  6. Select the ESXi versions for the virtual machines to be compatible with.
  7. Click OK.


The selected virtual machines are upgraded to the corresponding hardware version for the Compatibility setting that you chose, and the new hardware version is updated in the Summary tab of the virtual machine.

What to do next

Power on the virtual machines.