The compatibility level determines the virtual hardware available to the virtual machine, which corresponds to the physical hardware available on the host machine. You can upgrade the compatibility level to make a virtual machine compatible with the latest version of ESXi running on the host.

This procedure upgrades one or more virtual machines to the latest supported virtual hardware version immediately. To schedule an upgrade for the next virtual machine reboot, and choose from all supported virtual hardware upgrade versions, see Schedule an Upgrade of the Compatibility Level for Virtual Machines.

For information about virtual machine hardware versions and compatibility, see Virtual Machine Compatibility and the information about virtual machine compatibility in the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration documentation.

Create a backup or snapshot of the virtual machines. See the vSphere Virtual Machine Administration documentation.

Upgrade VMware Tools. On Microsoft Windows virtual machines, if you upgrade the compatibility level 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 VMFS3, VMFS5, or NFS datastore.

Verify that the virtual machines are stored on VMFS3, VMFS5 or NFS datastores.

Verify that the virtual hardware on the virtual machines is not the latest supported version.

Determine the ESXi versions that you want the virtual machines to be compatible with. See Virtual Machine Compatibility.


Log in to the vCenter Server from the vSphere Web Client.


Select the virtual machines.


Select a datacenter, folder, cluster, resource pool, or host.


Click the Related Objects tab, and click Virtual Machines.


Power off the selected virtual machines.


Select Actions > All vCenter Actions > Compatibility > Upgrade VM Compatibility.


Click Yes to confirm the upgrade.


Select the ESXi versions for the virtual machines to be compatible with.


Click OK.

The selected virtual machines are upgraded to the corresponding hardware version for the Compatibility setting that you chose, and the new hardware version is updated in the Summary tab of the virtual machine.

Power on the virtual machines.