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 for one virtual machine 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 of a Virtual Machine Manually.

You can use this procedure to schedule an upgrade for multiple virtual machines.

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


  • Power off the virtual machine.
  • Create a backup or snapshot of the virtual machine. 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 VMFS5 or NFS datastore.
  • Verify that the virtual machine is stored on VMFS5 or NFS datastores.
  • Verify that the compatibility settings for the virtual machine are not the latest supported version.
  • Determine the ESXi version that you want the virtual machine to be compatible with. See Virtual Machine Compatibility.


  1. Navigate to a virtual machine in the inventory.
  2. Right-click the virtual machine and select Compatibility > Schedule VM Compatibility Upgrade.
  3. In the Schedule VM Compatibility Upgrade dialog box, confirm that you want to schedule a compatibility upgrade by clicking Yes.
  4. From the Compatible with drop-down menu, select the compatibility to upgrade to.
    The virtual machine compatibility is upgraded the next time you restart the virtual machine.
  5. (Optional) To upgrade the compatibility when you do regularly scheduled guest maintenance, 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.