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Upgrading ESXI 4.1

Christopher Most
Christopher Most asked
I have a server running ESXi 4.1 at my house.  I have a virtual computer that I want to upgrade to Windows 10 and it is not working since apparently ESXi 4.1 does not support Windows 10.  (I even tried a fresh install and it would not run the installer.)
So it looks like i need to upgrade my Hypervisor.  The server has 128GB of memory and it has 4 physical CPU's each with 4 cores.  I believe that Hypervisor 6.7 only supports 2 physical CPU's.  Since I do not run too many virtual machines I do not think this is an issue as long as it will just ignore 2 of the CPU's.  So the first question is will it just ignore 2 of the CPU's?  (or will it just not work?)
It is currently running ESXi 4.1 from a USB drive.  Can I just replace the USB drive with ESXi 6.7, boot, and have everything recognized?  Is there anything special I need to do to make it recognize the existing Datastore so I can bring up the existing virtual machines?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
I have a server running ESXi 4.1 at my house.  I have a virtual computer that I want to upgrade to Windows 10 and it is not working since apparently ESXi 4.1 does not support Windows 10.  (I even tried a fresh install and it would not run the installer.)
So it looks like i need to upgrade my Hypervisor.

4.1 has been end of life for many years.

Does your current server support ESXi 6.7 there have been many changes with CPU support.

So it looks like i need to upgrade my Hypervisor.  The server has 128GB of memory and it has 4 physical CPU's each with 4 cores.  I believe that Hypervisor 6.7 only supports 2 physical CPU's.  Since I do not run too many virtual machines I do not think this is an issue as long as it will just ignore 2 of the CPU's.  So the first question is will it just ignore 2 of the CPU's?  (or will it just not work?)

6.7 does support four CPUs. Whether you have the licenses is another issue.

It is currently running ESXi 4.1 from a USB drive.  Can I just replace the USB drive with ESXi 6.7, boot, and have everything recognized?  Is there anything special I need to do to make it recognize the existing Datastore so I can bring up the existing virtual machines?

It should recognise the existing VMFS datastore, however it may not support the storage controller or hardware.

A VMFS-3 file system as used by ESXI 4.1 will be auto upgraded to VMFS 5 automatically at install/upgrade.

if it does display the datastore, just add the VM to the Inventory.
Christopher MostPresident

Author

Commented:
Your right on the money.  It looks like the Dell PowerEdge R905 can support up to ESXi 5.5 Update 2.  I plan to use the free version.  It looks like it does support Windows 10.  However I am having a hard time finding the limitations of the free version.  I found one article that notes that the RAM limitation is now gone.  Do you know how many physical CPU's it will support?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Free version 2 CPU.

Your biggest issue may be obtaining a free ESXi 5.5 license, because the current licenses issued are for 6.7.

Normally you would register (free) for the ESXi 5.5 license.

It still exists here

https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/evalcenter?p=free-esxi5

ESXi5.5-License-2CPU.jpg
Interesting because if you add 2 CPUs to your server, the license supports it....so you should be okay with 4!

The licenses changes to 4 CPU!

4cpus.jpg
Features are the same as in 4.1, same ram, 8 vCPUs max.
Christopher MostPresident

Author

Commented:
Well it ends up I do have a license key for 5.5 but it may be in use.  I have always had a problem understanding VMware terminology.  So is there a way I can tell if a license is in use or not?  It is for VMWare Essentials Kit.  It says 6 CPU's, 3 hosts (max 2 CPU's per host).  Is a host a virtual machine or is a host a physical machine?  (From what I can tell it is a physical server but I want to be sure.)  If it is physical hardware it looks like I can use this on two more physical machines but I would be limited to two CPU's.  Will it still run on a four CPU machine but limit its use to only 2 CPU's?

By the way I appreciate your help.  You have been very helpful in the past and I appreciate it!
VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Well it ends up I do have a license key for 5.5 but it may be in use.  I have always had a problem understanding VMware terminology.  So is there a way I can tell if a license is in use or not?  

No. You need to record where licenses are in use. Just like with Microsoft Product Keys.

It is for VMWare Essentials Kit.  It says 6 CPU's, 3 hosts (max 2 CPU's per host).  Is a host a virtual machine or is a host a physical machine?  (From what I can tell it is a physical server but I want to be sure.)

It's a HOST.

If it is physical hardware it looks like I can use this on two more physical machines but I would be limited to two CPU's.  Will it still run on a four CPU machine but limit its use to only 2 CPU's?

Essentials only support 2 CPU per host.

You can try it and see what happens!
Christopher MostPresident

Author

Commented:
I think I may hold off a bit and maybe get a more updated server.  I appreciate your help!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
No problems, The R905 is an ageing beast, and not very efficient!