A virtual machine’s virtual hardware version defines the constraints around which physical resources can be presented and consumed by a VM. This value is expressed in a number of different ways: the virtual hardware version, the VM Version, a “vmx-#” value, or even the compatibility version.
For example, hardware version 10 VMs often show up as being compatible with “ESXi 5.5 and later (VM version 10)” in the vSphere Web Client’s summary tab. I’ve provided a sample screenshot below from my work lab.
I’ve been treating hardware version 10 like a pit of vipers ever since it was released. Why? You can’t easily work with VMs that are using this version unless you have access to the Web Client. If you ever find yourself in a situation where the Web Client is offline, you’re reduced to the legacy vSphere Client (the Windows vSphere Client that has been used for years, sometimes called the Thick Client). The vSphere Client cannot edit VMs using Hardware Version 10.
What if your vCenter VM is on Hardware Version 10? You’d have to edit the vmx file by hand. Chicken, meet Egg.
This means that all infrastructure VMs that power your vSphere management should never been upgraded beyond Hardware Version 9 … until now. The vSphere Client bundled with ESXi 5.5 Update 2 is able to edit Hardware Version 10 VMs. You don’t even have to upgrade your hosts to ESXi 5.5 Update 2; you only need the updated vSphere Client.
Download Those Juicy Bits!
Head over to the VMware website and snag the VMware vSphere Client 5.5 Update 2. Specifically VMware-viclient-all-5.5.0-1993072.exe (build 1993072).
To get there, start at the Downloads Page > VMware vSphere > VMware vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2 (the license level is irrelevant) > VMware vCenter Server – Additional Tools > VMware vSphere Client 5.5 Update 2.
Accept the EULA and wait for your 358 MB download to finish. Install or upgrade the bits, depending on if you already have the vSphere Client installed.
Now, when you try to edit that Hardware Version 10 machine, a different popup appears. The vSphere Client is now exposing all Hardware Version 8 and below features, which is plenty to do some minor troubleshooting such as changing the network adapter, editing the vCPUs and memory, or fiddle with a virtual hard drive.
Here’s a completed task showing that I’ve edited the HardwareVer10 VM. You’ll just have to trust that I really did use the vSphere Client. 🙂
The task took a bit longer than normal, so day-to-day edits would likely still be performed in the vSphere Web Client.