You can change the hardware compatibility of a virtual machine. All virtual machines have a hardware version. The hardware version indicates which virtual hardware features that the virtual machine supports, such as BIOS or EFI, number of virtual slots, maximum number of CPUs, maximum memory configuration, and other hardware characteristics.

When you upgrade Workstation, you must change the hardware compatibility of virtual machines that were created in previous versions of Workstation so that they can use the new features in the new version of Workstation. You can run older versions of virtual machines in the new version of Workstation, but you will not have the benefits of the new features.

If you want a virtual machine to remain compatible with other VMware products that you are using, you might not want to change the hardware compatibility to the latest Workstation version.

Note

If you decide not to change the hardware compatibility of a virtual machine, you should consider upgrading to the latest version of VMware Tools to obtain the latest VMware Tools features.

Familiarize yourself with the considerations and limitations of changing the hardware compatibility of a virtual machine. See Considerations for Changing the Hardware Compatibility of a Virtual Machine.

1

Make backup copies of the virtual disk (.vmdk) files.

2

If you are upgrading from a Workstation 4 or 5.x virtual machine, or downgrading to a Workstation 4 or 5.x virtual machine, make a note of the NIC settings in the guest operating system.

If you specified a static IP address for the virtual machine, that setting might be changed to automatic assignment by DHCP after the upgrade.

3

Shut down the guest operating system and power off the virtual machine.

4

Select the virtual machine and select VM > Manage > Change Hardware Compatibility.

5

Follow the prompts in the wizard to change the hardware compatibility of the virtual machine.

When you select a hardware compatibility setting, a list of the VMware products that are compatible with that setting appears. For example, if you select Workstation 4, 5, or 6, a list of Workstation 6.5 and later features that are not supported for that Workstation version also appears.

Note

Using Workstation 10, you can change the hardware compatibility of a shared or remote virtual machine. However, you cannot down grade a previously created virtual machine.

6

Power on the virtual machine.

If you upgrade a virtual machine that contains a Windows 98 operating system to a Workstation 6.5 or later virtual machine, you must install a PCI-PCI bridge driver when you power on the virtual machine.

Note

Because Workstation 6.5 and later versions have 32 more PCI-PCI bridges than Workstation 6, you might need to respond to the prompt 32 or 33 times.

7

If the NIC settings in the guest operating system have changed, use the NIC settings that you recorded to change them back to their original settings.

8

If the virtual machine does not have the latest version of VMware Tools installed, update VMware Tools.

You should update VMware Tools to the version included with the latest version of Workstation, even if you upgraded the virtual machine to an earlier version of Workstation. Do not remove the older version of VMware Tools before installing the new version.

Note

If you are upgrading a virtual machine that runs from a physical disk, you can safely ignore this message: Unable to upgrade drive_name. One of the supplied parameters is invalid.