Step by Step: Upgrade vCenter VCSA 6.0 (or 6.5) to 6.7

These screenshots show the entire process to upgrade vCenter from 6.0 to 6.7 using a Windows 10 desktop as my administrative workstation.   The same steps work for vCenter 6.5 to 6.7.

Is your existing vCenter server running on Windows?  This article is primarily about upgrading vCenter appliances (linux-based).  If you have a Windows vCenter server, check the comments for instructions from Greg Curry.  Thanks Greg!


Preparing for the vCenter appliance upgrade

First, create a snapshot for your existing vCenter server. If you have disk space available, make sure to Quiesce memory.
Log on to and navigate to the Downloads section. Pick vCenter Server from the list. (It does not matter if you choose Essentials, Standard, etc, they are all the same).
Verify the version you want to use (it will default to the latest one), and click Download for VMware vCenter Server Appliance, file type = iso.   Now wait for a bit for it to download.
Navigate to your downloads folder when the download completes. In Windows 10, you can double-click the file to mount it to a virtual DVD drive. For non Windows workstations, use an .iso viewer or burn the image to a CD then open it on the CD.
Navigate to the contents of your .iso file. On Windows 10, use Windows Explorer and look for the files inside your DVD drive.  Then expand vcsa-ui-installer to open that folder.
Expand the folder  that matches your computer (Windows 7, 8, and 10, pick win32)
(Windows 7, 8, 10) Run the installer.exe file to start the upgrade wizard.

Appliance Upgrade Stage 1

Options display. For this scenario, pick Upgrade (to upgrade an existing vCenter appliance from 6.0 or 6.5 to 6.7)
The VCSA introduction screen displays.
Agreement displays. You need to accept it to proceed.
Enter the DNS name for your existing vCenter server.  You can look this up in the address bar when you open vCenter to manage your VMware environment.  Port 443 is appropriate for almost everyone, unless the IT department has customized this.  When you Connect to Source, the rest of the window will display.
Most environments will use administrator@vsphere.local for the SSO User name.  SSO password is the password for the user name you entered above (administrator@vsphere.local).  Appliance (OS) root password means the root password for your vCenter appliance website (  See next step to identify which ESXi host is managing your appliance.


Additional info from Todd who provided this quote in the comments (Thanks Todd!)

I ran into one minor issue during the “Upgrade Stage 1: Deploy Appliance” phase. Operation would halt with “Failed to authenticate with the guest operating system using the supplied credentials.” I know they’re good as I can login to VCSA, VAMI, MOB, ESXi using them.

I changed all of the passwords to numbers and letters only with a single known good special character tacked on at the end. Et Voila! Problem solved. The rest of the upgrade proceeds without errors.

Passwords like these will not work with this utility:




In the VMware hosts & clusters view, if you select your existing vCenter server and go to the Summary tab, you can see the address of the ESXi host.
You will get prompted to review the certificate. Just click Yes.
Now enter the ESXi server that will host your upgraded vCenter server.  Yes, we are making a new vCenter server with this procedure.  The old vCenter will be powered off if the upgrade succeeds.   Make sure you pick a host that has plenty of RAM and disk (at least 12 GB RAM, at least 500 GB disk) available.
This is where you set the name and password for your new vCenter.   The name will be displayed in VMware Hosts & Clusters.  This is not the DNS name or IP address for your new vCenter.  Your new vCenter will inherit the existing DNS name and IP address since we are doing an upgrade.
Almost all medium and small businesses use Tiny for deployment size and Large for storage size.    If you have 10 or less ESXi servers, use Tiny.
Pick the datastore that will host your new vCenter server.  Remember that by default it will use 850 GB thick provisioned for a Tiny deployment.

Optional:  Check the “Enable Thin Disk Mode” so that your vCenter server uses less disk space (about 80 GB).  This is mildly dangerous because the usage can grow over time and cause a datastore to fill up (crashing all VMs on the datastore), but for most small environments it doesn’t grow more than a few GB per year and 850 GB is WAY more than you need. 

These are the network settings that your new vCenter server will use.  Make sure to pick a Network that both your existing vCenter and the new vCenter can communicate on, with their IP addresses.  The new vCenter will use the Temporary IP address for a few minutes during the upgrade process, then it will switch to the existing IP address of your vCenter server.    Make sure no other devices are using the Temporary IP address.
Ready to complete displays.  When you click Finish, the deployment will start.
Even across WAN links, this process takes less than an hour.    Make sure that your workstation doesn’t disconnect from the work network during this process.  (If it does disconnect, no problem, just re-start from the beginning.)

Errors that can occur during stage 1

If you used the wrong password for the old vCenter, the source host, or the destination host, you may get an error at this point.

If you are on an unstable VPN link, you may get an error.  Try running the upgrade from a workstation or server on the LAN.

If you used DNS instead of IP addresses, try changing to IP addresses.

Temporary IP error: The upgrade will attempt to ping the IP address you chose for the temporary vCenter IP address.  If it pings, the upgrade will fail.  Make sure nothing is using that IP.

For information about cleaning up failed upgrade steps, see troubleshooting at the bottom of the article.

Stage 2 Upgrade VCSA

Phase 1 shows complete. The new vCenter virtual machine is deployed, but not configured. Beginning Phase 2 of the upgrade.
Introduction for Stage 2 displays.  Click Next.
It is normal to get several warnings.  Errors are bad, and will cause your upgrade to fail. Warnings are not bad.   Read them and take action if appropriate.
Most small and medium businesses don’t have that much data in their vCenter.  In this example, there is only 3.18 GB of data to transfer.   Since there is not a big difference between the sizes of each choice, I choose to move over everything.  It is good to retain historical data when possible.
Most businesses are fine to join the CEIP. If you are working on a secure network, then don’t check it.
Ready to complete displays.   You will need to check that you have backed up the source vCenter server (you did, right?).  Ways to perform backups:  1) Veeam. 2) Create that snapshot at the beginning of this post. 3) Use the appliance website ( and click the Backup button (you will need a web server or SCP host to do this).   The reality is that this upgrade process doesn’t delete your original server. At the worst, it powers it off.  There is very little risk of harming your original vCenter.
Phase 2 proceeds.  It should finish within about 30 minutes.

Possible errors during phase 2

NTP error:  Make sure your source VCSA has good NTP settings which are the same as the host you are using for source and destination.  See this VMware article about configuring NTP.   If you don’t have an internal time server, then the recommended option is to point to internet NTP servers:    ;  ;


At this point, your upgrade should be successful.   When the upgrade wizard completes, your old vCenter will be powered off and your new vCenter (running 6.7) will be powered on.

You may want to rename your old vCenter to something like “old_vCenter01”.

Test your ability to log onto the vCenter appliance (

Test your ability to manage your virtual machines (

Make sure to check your backup jobs.  They should switch to using the new vCenter automatically, but double-check.

Once you are comfortable with the new vCenter and you have at least one good backup of it, you can delete your old one.

Remember that if the new vCenter doesn’t work, you can revert your changes simply by powering it off and powering the new vCenter on.  You may need to log into individual hosts (https://host_ip_address) to do this if your vCenter isn’t working.


Manually verify every password for each device (your existing vCenter administrator@vsphere.local, your existing vCenter root, the source ESXi host root, the destination ESXi host root).  It is common for the vCenter root to be expired.  See my other blog for easy steps to fix an expired vCenter root password.

Orphaned vCenter attempts:  If your deployment fails, the new vCenter may display as orphaned.  There is no impact at this time, because you will continue using your existing vCenter.  I’ve heard that using VMware Workstation to connect to your vCenter will allow removal.  There is a blog that describes various methods for dealing with orphaned VMs:  For a more authoritative source, see VMware KB article for removal steps:

Upgrade failed with “Failed to send http datainstaller…”  The fix seems to be not using DNS for anything.  Change all your server names to IP addresses!   Reference

Selfish plug time (sorry!)

Thanks for reading this article! I hope it helps you! If you have tips or feedback, please comment or send me an email so that others can benefit.

I am a consultant in the Maryland/DC area in the USA. My specialties are Windows migrations (to 2016 and to Office 365 / Azure), VMware migrations, Netapp and SAN, and high availability / disaster recovery planning. If you would like help with your complex project, or would like a architectural review to improve your availability, please reach out! More information and contact can be found on the About page. – Amira Armond

32 thoughts on “Step by Step: Upgrade vCenter VCSA 6.0 (or 6.5) to 6.7

  1. Gregory Fraginis says:

    Great Article!!!!
    Can you change to thin provisioned during the setup? That way a tiny deployment does not take up 850GB on your datastore!!

  2. Pratika Shah says:

    It’s a great step by step process, but will there be any downtime of VM’s running on old Vcenter while this upgrade is going on?

    • Amira Armond
      Amira Armond says:

      Hello Pratika,

      vCenter is used for centralized management, and for coordinating the vSphere hosts with each other. On a minute-by-minute basis, vCenter is not used for networking, storage, or virtual machine operations. In all cases that I’ve seen, you can reboot, upgrade, power off, etc the vCenter server without affecting currently running VMs. But your ability to manage VMs, perform disaster failover, or migrate between hosts is reduced when it is offline, so you don’t want to have it offline for long.

  3. siva says:

    Really Appreciate your efforts!!!

    Entire article explains about the key things of vCenter Migration.
    Could you also please include the procedure to carry forward the update manger patches from 6.0 vCenter to 6.7

  4. todd says:

    Thanks for a great write up! VCSA upgraded from 6.0 to 6.7.

    I ran into one minor issue during the “Upgrade Stage 1: Deploy Appliance” phase. Operation would halt with “Failed to authenticate with the guest operating system using the supplied credentials.” I know they’re good as I can login to VCSA, VAMI, MOB, ESXi using them.

    I changed all of the passwords to numbers and letters only with a single known good special character tacked on at the end. Et Voila! Problem solved. The rest of the upgrade proceeds without errors.

    Passwords like these will not work with this utility:


  5. mordechai says:

    is it possible to change the name and ip of the vcsa during the upgrade?
    so it won’t take the original vc params?

    • Charles Frady says:

      It’s not advisable to change the name and ip address of your vcenter server during the upgrade. All your hosts will disconnect since they are looking for the vcenter server they were connected to. You can reconnect them but it’s a hassle and in large host environments you may find that a few would not reconnect. You can ssh into the host and edit the file that contains the vcenter ip (I forget the exact name of the file..vmware has an article on it) but it doesn’t always work after restarting the host management services. I ran into this when I upgraded from a windows based vcenter with a separate sql server over to the appliance. I could not use an ip address that was in the same subnet as the existing vcenter..meaning the physical server ip range was not usable within our vmware guest network range.

      Major hassle but I got it done. Two of my exchange cluster hosts had to be removed from inventory and re added to the new vcenter to get them manageable again. 42 hosts reconnected easily and 2 did not.

      If your host count is just a couple, then you could probably do what you asked about without serious issues.

  6. John Fitzpatrick says:

    Errors and how to fix.
    VMware Tools driver is not initialized. Make sure that VMware Tools driver is initialized and is running properly on the source vCenter Server Appliance (Sample_FQDN). Also make sure that the ESXi host which contains the source vCenter Server Appliance is not under heavy load. Contact VMware support in case the issue cannot be resolved.
    Create or recreate the /etc/SuSE-release file with the below content using a text editor
    VERSION = 11
    SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 (x86_64)
    See article 59157

    Upgrade Error “Insufficient space on the source export partition ‘/’.
    Stage 2 Option 3
    login to VCSA as root
    df -h and check which directory has plenty of free space. In my case is was /storage/core
    add that to where it says export directory and continue the upgrade.

    Stage 2
    After completing the upgrade you get a message about NTP out of synch. To fix
    Login in as root to the web interface of the old VCSA and to to time. Make sure its host that is selected.

  7. Hamed Hamidi says:

    That was really helpful,
    but got an issue while connecting to Vcenter resources, the error “Failed to authenticate with the guest operating system using the supplied credentials” facing this error is not because of changing Password inter just later and number but it was due to password expired

  8. Mayur says:

    Hi it’s a lovely article
    Temporary IP that we use in stage one, do we need to open certain ports for it??
    if yes , then which ones and from where to where?
    If no, then simply a unused IP is fine from same IP segment will be fine?

  9. Andy Stylianou says:

    Utterly brilliant article, worked first time … Thanks for taking the time to share your findings.

  10. Eric says:

    Nice Article… But continues to fail at Phase 2 60% as non-recoverable and no real error message other than unable to start
    Trying to upgrade vcenter from 6.0 to 6.7 on 6.0 Hosts…

  11. Danny says:

    When entering the vCenter name, I tryied to use the same name and I received an error message that that name was already in inventory.

  12. Lance says:

    Thank you so very much for putting this good information out there.

    It was a great comfort to have you detailing the potential issues…It gave me the confidence that it wouldn’t blow up!

    I did the upgrade in place from 6.0 to 6.7u3 and it was a fantastic success back in November.

  13. Greg Curry says:

    Amira, great guide! Good starting point for this process.

    However in doing due diligence, one other fairly common factor to point out. Many people could be coming over from VCSA 6 with Update Manager roll deployed on a Windows Server. Consideration needs to be made here! To either retain this as part of upgrade, or my preference is to drop and replace this with the one now built into VCSA 6.7.

    To retain, you would need to: run the VMware Migration Assistant on the source Windows physical server or the Windows virtual machine where Update Manager runs.

    To start fresh, after backing up existing VCSA 6, but prior to starting the upgrade process, you would need to: Remove the vSphere Update Manager extension (using mob if needed)

    Useful links on this topic:


      • Greg Curry says:


        Need to clarify. My comments applied to your guide when updating the Linux based VCSA, not vCenter running on top of Windows Server. With VCSA 6, the Update Manager still needs to run on top a Windows Server. They didn’t build that into VCSA until version 6.5. So all your steps in the guide apply, with the addition of steps I commented on for Update Manager running outside of the VCSA on top a Windows Server.

        Now if you read the vCenter upgrade guide, they do cover the scenario of converting from VC on top Windows Server, to stand-alone Linux based VCSA. It can only be done when upgrading to a newer version, say VC 6.0 or 6.5 to VCSA 6.7.

        (Chapter 5: Migrating vCenter Server forWindows tovCenter Server Appliance)

        Most of the steps you outline in this guide would also apply in that scenario.

        Best of luck to everyone pulling of these upgrades!

  14. Lloyd says:

    This is such a great article. Except I ran into an issue with the upgrade with NTP not synchronising and hit the close button. Now when I try and continue the installation by navigating to https://vcsa_url:5480, I get: “This appliance cannot be used or repaired because a failure was encountered. You need to deploy a new appliance.”

    I took the snapshot in vcenter you recommended at the start of this blog but now I’m stuck because I don’t know how to restore from the snapshot without my vcsa being accessible.

    Any help would be much appreciated!

      • Lloyd says:

        Amira! You are very kind. Thank you soooo much! Crisis averted and I can now try this again following your instructions.

      • 1an3 says:

        This why it is recommended to make a note of the ESXi host your source vcenter is on, and set DRS to manual for the duration of the works – that way it stays where it is meant to!

  15. Jules says:

    Is it an obligation of moving the .iso file to upgrade vcsa 6.0 to 6.5 on the vSphere Update Manager’s VM ? Is there another emplacement where to copy the .iso file ?

  16. Matt says:


    Thanks for the article. Is it possible to perform this upgrade just by using the VAMI page or via CLI using Putty?



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