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

To schedule an upgrade for multiple virtual machines, see Schedule a Compatibility Upgrade for Virtual Machines.


  • Create a backup or snapshot of the virtual machines.
  • Upgrade to the latest version of VMware Tools. On Microsoft Windows virtual machines, if you upgrade the compatibility level 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 VMFS-3, VMFS-5, or NFS datastore.
  • Verify that the virtual machine is stored on VMFS-3, VMFS-5 or NFS datastores.


  1. Right-click a virtual machine in the inventory and select Edit Settings.
  2. On the Virtual Hardware tab, expand Upgrade and select Schedule VM Compatibility Upgrade.
  3. Select the compatibility from the drop-down menu.
    The virtual machine compatibility is upgraded the next time you restart the virtual machine.
  4. (Optional) To upgrade the compatibility when you do regularly scheduled guest maintenance, select Only upgrade after normal guest OS shutdown.


The virtual machine compatibility is upgraded and the new version appears on the virtual machine Summary tab.