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Upgrade Windows Server 2008 Virtual Hardware

This is a manual and checklist to be used when upgrading Windows Server 2008 VMs from hardware version 4 to hardware version 7 including the newest paravirtual SCSI adapter and VMXNET3 network card.

Note VM Data

Network information (through ipconfig /all and MAC address is only needed with multiple NICs):

Name Network Adapter 1 Network Adapter 2
IP address: 10.10.
Subnet mask:
Default gateway:
Primary DNS server:
Secondary DNS server:
MAC address : 00:50:56:
Note the network label: VLAN

OS information (through winver.exe):

  • OS: Windows Server 2008
  • Edition: Enterprise
  • SP: SP 2
  • Bits: 64 bits

VMware Tools

To upgrade the VMware tools select the VM in place, right click it and follow these steps:

  • Guest → Install/Upgrade VMware Tools
  • Select the Automatic Tools Upgrade option
  • Wait until the VM has rebooted before continuing
Note that you can see the progress by watching the VMware Tools status in the summary tab.

Upgrade Video driver

After upgrading the VMware tools you can update the default installed VGA driver for enhanced graphical support:

  • Start Device Manager (devmgmt.msc) and expand the “Display Adapters”
  • Right click the “Standard VGA Graphics Adapter” and select “Update Driver Software”
  • Select “Browse my computer for driver software”
  • Select “C:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\Drivers\wddm_video” as the location to search for drivers
  • Click Next and Close to finish the installation

Set SAN Policy

According to this knowledgebase article from Microsoft all new SAN disks will not be automatically mounted on Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (and datacenter edition). To prevent this from happening follow these steps (as an Administrator):

  • Type Diskpart and Enter
  • Type “SAN” and press Enter (which shows the current Policy)
  • Type “SAN POLICY=OnlineAll” and press Enter
  • Type “SAN” again to check the new policy (should be “Online All”)
  • Type Exit to leave Diskpart


Shutdown the VM before proceeding with the next steps.

Check Installed OS Version

Go to VM → Edit Settings → Options tab and check whether the noted version is the correct one.

Upgrade Virtual Hardware

  • Go to VM → Upgrade Virtual Hardware.
  • Click yes on the presented warning.
You can check the VM version by going to VM → Edit Settings. In the upper right corner you will now see “Virtual Machine Version: 7”.

Replace Virtual Network Card

  • Go to VM → Edit Settings
  • Select the Network Adapter and click on Remove
  • Click on Add and select Ethernet Adapter
    • Set the Type to VMXNET3
    • Set the correct Network Label
    • Leave the “Connect at pwer on” setting selected
  • Click Next and Finish
  • Leave the window open for the next step

Add a Temporary Paravirtual SCSI Adapter

  • Click Add and select Hard Disk
  • Select to create a new virtual disk
    • Set the disze to 1 MB
    • Select the option to “Allocate and commit space on demand (Thin Provisioning)”
    • Leave the Location to store the new disk with the virtual machine
  • Set the Virtual Device Node to a new SCSI adapter, for example something like “SCSI (1:0)”
  • Click Next and Finish

If you correctly set the disk to a new SCSI adapter a new SCSI Controller is automatically added to the VM as well. Select the controller and click on “Change Type” button on the upper right corner and select VMware Paravirtual.
Click OK for all the changes to take effect.


Start the VM before proceeding with the next steps. After startup check whether all the disks were correctly mounted (diskmgmt.msc) and the newly added disk is visible. You'll receive a message you need to initialize this new disk, you can click this message away.
Then set the network settings on the newly added NIC. When you apply the settings you'll receive a warning that an old adapter already has this IP address configured. Click “Yes” to remove the static IP configuration for the absent adapter.

Note: Don't forget to disable IPv6 for the newly added network adapter.

Remove Old Network Card

You should remove the old NIC since it's not longer present on the Windows VM anymore:

From the MS knowledgebase:

  • Right-click “Computer” and click “Properties”
  • Click “Advanced system settings”
  • Click the “Environment Variables” button.
  • Set the variables in the System Variables box by clicking New.

Now, open the device manager (devmgmt.msc), go to View and enable “Show hidden devices”. Go to the Network Adapters section and expand it. It should be really obvious what the old adapter is since it is greyed out. Select it, right click and choose “uninstall”.


Now shutdown the VM before proceeding with the next step.

Set SCSI Adapters Correctly

  • Go to VM → Edit Settings
  • Select the temporarily added virtual disk and select remove.
  • Select the option to “Remove from virtual machine and delete files from disk”.
  • Select the original SCSI Controller and change the type to paravirtual.
  • Click OK for all the changes to take effect.


Start the VM and check all services and hardware. Everything should be fine.

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upgradewin2008virtualhardware.txt · Last modified: 2013/04/20 13:48 by sjoerd