Guidance for in-place upgrade of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 to Windows 10
search cancel

Guidance for in-place upgrade of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 to Windows 10


Article ID: 313239


Updated On:


VMware vSphere ESXi


In-place upgrade of the guest operating system (between major OS release versions, such as Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10) is not recommended.
The best practice is to install a new major OS releases in a new VM.


VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5


Before guest OS upgrade, upgrading VMware tools to the latest version available for current Windows release, test installation on a cloned VM firstly, taking snapshot of the VM or saving backup of the VM are recommended.
If you have a Windows 10 ISO image used for Windows 10 installation, follow the resolution given below,
  1. Mount this ISO file to the VM, select “Virtual Machine -> Edit Settings -> CD/DVD drive -> Datastore ISO file”,  click “Browse” to select the Windows 10 ISO file from datastore as CD/DVD media.
  2. Logon to the guest OS and double-click CD-ROM from the File Explorer.
  3. Follow the installation prompts to complete the installation.
Or, use Media Creation Tool to do upgrade, make sure you have an internet connection:
a. Download Media Creation Tool in the guest OS from the Microsoft Software Download Center.
b. Run the Media Creation tool and select Upgrade this PC option.
c.Follow the installation prompts to complete the installation.
  1. Upgrade or reinstall VMware Tools after OS upgrades.
  2. Shutdown VM, select “Virtual Machine -> Edit Settings -> VM Options -> General Options”, change “Guest OS Version” to “Microsoft Windows 10 (32-bit)” or “Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)”. For Windows 10 guest operating system option see this KB 2128258

Additional Information


Support considerations:

Read OS vendor's documentation to ensure the specific upgrade scenario is supported, e.g., Windows 10 upgrade paths.  

If the OS vendor does not support a particular upgrade scenario, then VMware will not be able to provide support for such scenarios due to lack of ability to collaborate with the OS vendor.

In-place upgrade is a feature of the operating system, if problems are encountered, it is best to first contact the OS vendor for assistance. If the OS vendor has narrowed down problem to be specific to VMware software, then VMware can provide assistance.

Some VMware products do not support in-place upgrade of the guest operating system in a VM. For more details, see VMware support for guest operating system upgrade (2018695).

Check VMware Compatibility Guide to ensure new operating system version is supported as guest on the VMware product.

Check the configuration of VM to ensure that it meets requirements to run new OS release. New major OS releases sometime increase the minimum require amount of memory, video ram, disk space, etc. In addition, performing OS upgrade consumes disk space, so ensure VM has adequate storage to complete the upgrade. It may be necessary to power off the VM to make some of these adjustments before starting the upgrade.

For all applications running in the OS, contact the application vendor to determine their support policies and guidance for conducting operating system upgrades.