Virtual machine hardware versions
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Virtual machine hardware versions


Article ID: 315655


Updated On:


VMware Desktop Hypervisor VMware vCenter Server VMware vSphere ESXi


This article guides you through the process of determining if your virtual machine's hardware version is the most up to date for the VMware product that you are using. This resource also explains why a virtual machine created with one product may not power on from another product.

If you are experiencing a problem related to a virtual machine's hardware version, the information in this article may resolve the issue.

For information specific to:


  • A virtual machine fails to power on.
  • Some virtual machine operations are greyed out and unavailable.
  • You experience unexpected behavior in a guest operating system.
  • Guest OS may report backing storage as a hard disk as opposed to a solid state drive.


VMware Fusion 1.0 VMware Fusion 13.0 / 13.5 VMware vSphere ESXi 8.0 VMware Workstation 12.0
VMware Fusion 2.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 3.0 VMware Workstation 1.0 VMware Workstation 13.0
VMware Fusion 3.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 3.5 VMware Workstation 2.0 VMware Workstation 14.0
VMware Fusion 4.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 4.0 VMware Workstation 3.0 VMware Workstation 15.0
VMware Fusion 5.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 4.1 VMware Workstation 4.0 VMware Workstation 16.0
VMware Fusion 6.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0 VMware Workstation 5.0 VMware Workstation 17.0
VMware Fusion 7.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1 VMware Workstation 6.0 VMware Workstation 17.5
VMware Fusion 8.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5 VMware Workstation 7.0  
VMware Fusion 9.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0 VMware Workstation 8.0  
VMware Fusion 10.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 6.5 VMware Workstation 9.0  
VMware Fusion 11.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7 VMware Workstation 10.0  
VMware Fusion 12.0 VMware vSphere ESXi 7.0 VMware Workstation 11.0  


VMware products and their virtual hardware version

This table lists VMware products and their virtual hardware version:

Virtual Hardware Version Products
21 ESXi 8.0 U2 (8.0.2)
Fusion 13.5
Workstation Pro 17.5
Workstation Player 17.5
20 ESXi 8.0
Fusion 13.x
Workstation Pro 17.x
Workstation Player 17.x
19 ESXi 7.0 U2 (7.0.2)
Fusion 12.2.x
Workstation Pro 16.2.x
Workstation Player 16.2.x
18 ESXi 7.0 U1 (7.0.1)
Fusion 12.x
Workstation Pro 16.x
Workstation Player 16.x
17 ESXi 7.0  (7.0.0)
16 Fusion 11.x
Workstation Pro 15.x
Workstation Player 15.x
15 ESXi 6.7 U2
14 ESXi 6.7
Fusion 10.x
Workstation Pro 14.x
Workstation Player 14.x
13 ESXi 6.5
12 Fusion 8.x
Workstation Pro 12.x
Workstation Player 12.x
11 ESXi 6.0
Fusion 7.x
Workstation 11.x
Player 7.x
10 ESXi 5.5
Fusion 6.x
Workstation 10.x
Player 6.x
9 ESXi 5.1
Fusion 5.x
Workstation 9.x
Player 5.x
8 ESXi 5.0
Fusion 4.x
Workstation 8.x
Player 4.x
7 ESXi/ESX 4.x
Fusion 3.x
Fusion 2.x
Workstation 7.x
Workstation 6.5.x
Player 3.x
Server 2.x
6 Workstation 6.0.x
4 ESX 3.x
ACE 2.x
Fusion 1.x
Player 2.x
3 and 4 ACE 1.x
Lab Manager 2.x
Player 1.x
Server 1.x
Workstation 5.x
Workstation 4.x
3 ESX 2.x
GSX Server 3.x

Consider this information about virtual hardware versions when dealing with related problems:

  • Warning: Upgrading a VM's HW version is not recommended unless features in the new version are needed. Upgrading a Virtual Machine to the latest hardware version is the physical equivalent of swapping the drive out of one system and placing it into a new one. Its success will depend on the resiliency of the guest operating system in the face of hardware changes. VMware does not recommend upgrading virtual hardware version if you do not need the new features exposed by the new version. For more information, see Upgrading a virtual machine to the latest hardware version (multiple versions) (1010675).
  • ESXi 6.7u2 introduces hardware version 15. This new hardware version allows for the creation of a VM with up to 256 vCPUs. It is important to note that a hardware version 15 VM cannot be vMotioned to a host on a prior version of ESXi, including ESXi 6.7u1, ESXi 6.7, ESXi 6.0 etc, as these prior ESXi versions are not compatible with the new hardware version. Similarly, vCenter 6.7 or vCenter 6.7u1 can be used to manage ESXi 6.7u2 hosts as long as hardware version 15 VMs are not in use. For customers looking to create, run, and manage hardware version 15 VMs, both the ESXi hosts in the cluster and vCenter need to be upgraded to at least 6.7u2.
  • A VMware product cannot power on a virtual machine with a virtual hardware version that is higher than what it supports.

    Note: If a virtual machine is created on a VMware product that supports a given virtual hardware version and is then migrated to a VMware product that does not support this level of virtual hardware, it does not power on. Consult the chart above. Virtual machines created by VMware products and versions located higher up in the chart cannot be powered on by products lower on the chart.
  • A VMware product can power on a virtual machine with a virtual hardware version that is lower than what it supports, but functionality may be lost. Lost functionality results in menu items related to virtual machine operations being grayed out and unavailable.
  • A virtual machine's hardware version can be downgraded only by Workstation 6.x or later, Converter 3.x or later, and Fusion 2.x or later.
  • Any VMware product in the chart above, with the exception of VMware Player, is able to upgrade the version of a virtual machine's hardware to the highest version that it supports.

Upgrading the virtual hardware

To upgrade the virtual hardware:

Note: For Lab Manager virtual machines, they must be undeployed, have their virtual hardware version upgraded from their configuration, then redeployed.

  1. Power on the virtual machine.
  2. Install VMware Tools.
  3. Power off the virtual machine.
  4. Change the hardware setting:

    In Workstation 8, navigate to VM > Manage > Change Hardware Compatibility.

    In ESXi/ESX, Server, Lab Manager, or GSX, depending on the version in use, right-click the entry for the virtual machine, then select:
    • Upgrade or Change Version
    • Upgrade Virtual Machine
  5. In VMware Player, open the virtual machine's .vmx file using a text editor.

    For more information on editing, see Editing the .vmx file of a VMware Workstation and VMware Player Virtual machine(2057902).

  6. Locate the entry virtualHW.version = "8".
  7. Change the above entry to:

    virtualHW.version = "11"
  8. Save and close the .vmx file.

    Note: Changes made to the .vmx file do not take effect until the next time VMware Workstation or VMware Player is opened.

Additional Information

Reactivation of a Windows guest operating system is not needed after upgrading the virtual hardware version. Update the VMware Tools version on the virtual machine for better performance, if prompted.

For information on virtual hardware versions and limitations, see Virtual machine memory limits and hardware versions (1014006).

Virtual machine hardware version compatibility for Fusion