The virtual machine compatibility determines the virtual hardware available to the virtual machine, which corresponds to the physical hardware available on the host. You can schedule a compatibility upgrade to make a virtual machine compatible with newer versions of ESXi.

Use this procedure to schedule an upgrade of one or more virtual machines at the next reboot of the virtual machine, and choose from all supported compatibility level upgrades. To upgrade virtual machines immediately to the latest supported compatibility, see Upgrade the Compatibility for Virtual Machines.

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


  • Create a backup or snapshot of the virtual machines. See Using Snapshots To Manage Virtual Machines.
  • Upgrade to the latest version of VMware Tools. If you upgrade the compatibility before you upgrade VMware Tools, the virtual machine might lose its network settings.
  • Verify that all .vmdk files are available to the ESX/ESXi host on a VMFS3, VMFS5, or NFS datastore.
  • Verify that the virtual machines are stored on VMFS3, VMFS5 or NFS datastores.
  • 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 VMs tab and click Virtual Machines.
  3. Power off the selected virtual machines.
  4. Select Actions > Compatibility > Schedule VM Compatibility Upgrade....
  5. Click Yes to confirm the upgrade.
  6. Select the ESXi versions for the virtual machines to be compatible with.
  7. (Optional) Select Only upgrade after normal guest OS shutdown.
    This prevents the scheduled upgrade from occurring unless the guest operating system of the virtual machine is shut down or restarted normally.


Each of the selected virtual machines is upgraded to the compatibility that you chose at the next reboot of the virtual machine, and the Compatibility setting is updated in the Summary tab of the virtual machine.