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 additional hardware available to the virtual machine.

Important: Upgrading virtual machine hardware 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 VMs, the virtual machine might lose its network settings if you upgrade the compatibility before you upgrade VMware Tools.
  • Verify that all virtual machines and their .vmdk files are stored on storage connected to the ESXi host or the client machine.
  • Determine the ESXi versions that you want the virtual machines to be compatible with. See Virtual Machine Compatibility.
  • Check whether the guest operating systems of the virtual machines that you upgrade require a power off. For example, some Linux operating systems do not require a power-off before a virtual machine compatibility upgrade. See Downtime for Upgrading Virtual Machines.


  1. In the vSphere Client, navigate to the virtual machine.
  2. (Optional) Right-click the virtual machine and select Power > Power Off.
  3. Select Actions > Compatibility > Upgrade VM Compatibility.
  4. Click Yes to confirm the upgrade.
  5. Select a compatibility and click OK.