The vCenter Server installer detects any VirtualCenter 2.x release and upgrades it.

This procedure requires downtime for the VirtualCenter Server that you are upgrading. No virtual machines need to be powered off.

If the upgrade fails, there is no automatic rollback to the previous VirtualCenter version.

The prerequisites for upgrading to vCenter Server include requirements for the vCenter Server system and requirements for the database. See Prerequisites for the vCenter Server Upgrade.


Select Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services > VMware VirtualCenter Server to stop the service.

This step is recommended, especially if the VirtualCenter database is on a remote system.


As Administrator on the Windows system, insert the VMware vCenter Server Installation CD or double-click autorun.exe.


When the vCenter Server Installer page appears, click vCenter Server.


Select a language for the installer and click OK.


The Welcome page informs you that an earlier version of VirtualCenter is on the computer and will be upgraded to vCenter Server 4.0.

When the Welcome page appears, click Next.


Select I agree to the terms in the license agreement and click Next.


Type your vCenter Server license key and clickNext.

If you omit the license key, vCenter Server will be in evaluation mode. After installation, you can convert vCenter Server to licensed mode by entering the license key using the vSphere Client.


Enter the database password that corresponds to the username and DSN that the installer displays and click Next.

You can omit the database username and password if the DSN is using Windows NT authentication.

If you specify a remote SQL Server database that uses Windows NT authentication, the database user and the logged-in user on the vCenter Server machine must be the same.


Select whether to upgrade the vCenter Server database schema.

Select Yes, I want to upgrade my vCenter Server database to continue with the upgrade to vCenter Server.

Select No, I do not want to upgrade my vCenter Server database if you do not have a backup copy of your database.

If you choose this option, you cannot continue the upgrade. Cancel the upgrade, back up your VirtualCenter environment (as described in Back Up VirtualCenter 2.x), and restart the upgrade process.

If the database schema is current, this dialog does not appear.


Click I have taken a backup of the existing vCenter Server database and SSL certificates and click Next.


Specify the account for the vCenter Service to run in.

Click Next to use the SYSTEM account. You cannot use the SYSTEM account if you are using Windows authentication for SQL Server.

Deselect Use SYSTEM Account, accept the default Administrator account name and password, and click Next.

Deselect Use SYSTEM Account and enter a different Administrator account name and password.


Enter the port numbers to use or accept the default port numbers shown on the page and click Next.


Click Install.

If you are upgrading from VirtualCenter 2.0.x, the Database Upgrade wizard appears. The upgrade is not complete until the wizard upgrades the database schema. If you are upgrading from VirtualCenter 2.5, the database schema is upgraded in the background.