I'm transitioning a few old VMware Server virtual machines to ESXi 4.1. Both the ESXi and Server images live on the same NFS datastore. What is the fastest way for me to convert a machine to the new format?

VMware Converter seems horribly slow at this task, so I'm thinking that vmkfstools might be better suited working directly against the NFS datastore. If so, is there anything else I need to do manually after converting the VMDK? Are changes to the VMX required?

2 Answers 2


Depending on the format and guest type of the source image, you might be able to simply add it to inventory from the datastore browser in ESXi. I'd recommend you copy the directory first (make sure there are no snapshots), then see what you can do by right clicking on the .vmx and/or .vmdk files from within the vSphere client.

EDIT: If they are v7 virtual hardware, then there shouldn't be much to do. You might have to right click on the .vmdk and choose "convert" or "inflate", but I'd just try it and see what happens first.

  • They're all Windows guests. Some thin, some flat provisioned Feb 7, 2011 at 18:50
  • They are virtual hardware version 4 Feb 9, 2011 at 16:11

I was able to import existing VM's that were running on 3.5 to ESX4i, There are several ways to do this (drag n drop, import etc) Once you have the VM managed by the new Vcenter server or on the new hypervisor you can then convert the hardware to version 7. You can upgrade to the new version of the vm hardware a couple different ways, right click the machine and looking thorugh the advanced options or using VMWare update manager and attaching the "VMWare upgrade to match host" baseline.

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