If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably installed ESXi 5.5 and upgraded your virtual machine hardware via the vSphere client (ignoring the warnings) and found that you can no longer manage your VM configuration as you don’t have a vCenter license and access to the new web-client. Or maybe you are running an older VM hardware in 5.5 (like 7) and want to bring it to hardware level 8 or 9, but not lose configuration ability in vSphere 5.5.  It’s easy to “downgrade” your hardware level without re-converting the VM or doing any heavy lifting.

WARNING: Create a snapshot before doing the steps below, you won’t need it, but you can’t be too safe!

Scenario 1: You upgraded your VM from hardware version 9 (vmx-09) to 10 and want to roll back to version 9 (vmx-09):

  1. Shut down the virtual machine in the vSphere client.
  2. Remove your virtual machine from the ESXi inventory.
  3. Browse your Datastore and find the virtual machine’s .vmx file.   Download it to your desktop.
  4. Open the .vmx file in Notepad or your favorite text editor.
  5. Find the following line (usually line 3) in your configuration and change the “10” to a “9”
    virtualHW.version = “10” will become virtualHW.version = “9”
  6. Save the file and overwrite your existing .vmx file.
  7. Upload the file to the same location your downloaded the file from in step 3.
  8. Add the machine to inventory and start it up.

Scenario 2: You are on an older VM version and want to upgrade it to 9 using vSphere 5.5:

  1. Shut down the virtual machine in the vSphere client.
  2. Right click your VM and select “Upgrade Virtual Hardware”.  You will now be on version 10 hardware.
  3. Remove your virtual machine from the ESXi inventory.
  4. Browse your Datastore and find the virtual machine’s .vmx file.   Download it to your desktop.
  5. Open the .vmx file in Notepad or your favorite text editor.
  6. Find the following line (usually line 3) in your configuration and change the “10” to a “9”
    virtualHW.version = “10” will become virtualHW.version = “9”
  7. Save the file and overwrite your existing .vmx file.
  8. Upload the file to the same location your downloaded the file from in step 4.
  9. Add the machine to inventory and start it up.

That’s it!  You can now use vSphere 5.5 to manage your hosts just like you did in 5.1 or 5.0.


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