When you configure a virtual machine, you can add network adapters (NICs) and specify the adapter type. The type of network adapters that are available depend on the following factors:

The version of the virtual machine, which depends on what host created it or most recently updated it.

Whether or not the virtual machine has been updated to the latest version for the current host.

The guest operating system.

The following NIC types are supported:


Supported on virtual machines that were created on ESX Server 3.0 or greater and that run 32-bit guest operating systems. The Flexible adapter functions as a Vlance adapter if VMware Tools is not installed in the virtual machine and as a Vmxnet driver if VMware Tools is installed in the virtual machine.


Emulates the functioning of an E1000 network card. It is the default adapter type for virtual machines that run 64-bit guest operating systems.

Enhanced vmxnet

An upgraded version of the Vmxnet device with enhanced performance. It requires that VMware Tools be installed in the virtual machine.

vmxnet 3

Next generation Vmxnet device with enhanced performance and enhanced networking features. It requires that VMware Tools be installed in the virtual machine, and is available only on virtual machines with hardware version 7 and greater.