Downgrade the hardware version of VM in vSphere

Upgrading the hardware version of a virtual machine (VM) is a common practice to leverage the latest features and improvements. However, there are instances where downgrading the hardware version becomes necessary, especially when compatibility issues arise or when migrating VMs to older hosts. In this article, we’ll explore the process of downgrading the hardware version of a VM in vSphere.

Why Downgrade a VM’s Hardware Version?

  1. Compatibility Concerns: Newer hardware versions might not be supported on older ESXi hosts or certain third-party applications.
  2. Migration Requirements: When transitioning VMs to an environment with lower hardware capabilities, downgrading ensures seamless compatibility.


  • Access to vSphere Client: Ensure you have access to the vSphere Client with the necessary permissions to modify VM settings.
  • Snapshot (Recommended): Before proceeding, consider taking a snapshot of the VM to create a restore point in case of any issues.

Steps to Downgrade VM Hardware Version:

  • Take a Snapshot: Begin by taking a snapshot of the virtual machine to create a restore point.
  • Power off the VM: Safely power off the virtual machine to make changes to its configuration.
  • Go to VM Datastore and Download the .vmx File: Access the virtual machine’s datastore and download the .vmx configuration file.
  • Edit the .vmx File: Open the downloaded .vmx file using a text editor and search for “virtualHW.version.”
  • Change the Version Based on vSphere: Modify the “virtualHW.version” based on the desired vSphere version. Refer to the VMware Knowledge Base article at for version details.
  • Replace the VMX File in the Datastore: After editing, replace the original .vmx file in the datastore with the newly modified one.
  • Verify Functionality: Power on the virtual machine and verify that it is working as expected with the updated configuration.


Downgrading the hardware version of a VM in vSphere is a meticulous process that requires careful consideration of compatibility and functionality. By following these steps, you can successfully navigate the downgrade process, ensuring your VM is tailored to the specific hardware requirements of your environment. Always remember to perform these actions during a maintenance window to minimize disruptions to your virtualized infrastructure.

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