The virtual machine compatibility determines the virtual hardware available to the virtual machine. You can schedule a compatibility upgrade to make a virtual machine compatible with newer versions of ESXi.

You can change the compatibility of an individual virtual machine by upgrading its compatibility or scheduling an compatibility upgrade.

You can also change the default compatibility setting for the host, cluster, or data center.


  • 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 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. (Optional) To determine the compatibility setting of a virtual machine, select the virtual machine in the inventory and click the Summary tab.
  2. Select your task.
    Client Tasks
    vSphere Client
    • Change the default compatibility setting of a virtual machine.
      • Right-click a virtual machine and click Compatibility > Upgrade VM Compatibility.
      • Right-click a virtual machine and click Compatibility > Schedule VM Compatibility Upgrade.
    • Change the default compatibility setting of a host or a cluster. See Set the Default Compatibility for Virtual Machine Creation.