How to upgrade VMware Fusion 6 to 7

Erik Eckel explains how to update a VMWare Fusion 6 virtual machine possessing a preexisting Windows installation to version 7.

VMware Fusion

Last month, realizing the OS X Yosemite upgrade was coming, I began worrying how well existing software on my Mac would work with the new release. I was particularly concerned that a meticulously configured Windows 8.1 Professional VMware Fusion virtual machine (VM) might prove incompatible or suffer performance glitches as a result of the upgrade. Fortunately, VMware had an upgrade of its own ready: Fusion 7.

VMware Fusion 7

In addition to matching Yosemite's refreshed, cleaner interface, VMware Fusion 7 introduces speed improvements, a revised hardware support platform (version 11), and enhanced graphics support and performance. Users of Fusion 5.x, 5.x Pro, 6.x, and 6.x Pro should explore upgrading, especially as the upgrade license costs only $49.99 (USD).

Fusion 7's hardware requirements prove reasonable. The platform works with any Intel-powered Mac possessing a 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo, Xeon, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or better CPU, OS X 10.8 or later, 2 GB of RAM (although I recommend a minimum of 4 GB), and 750 MB of free disk space (although I recommend 25 GB if you're going to load Windows and plan to actually load applications and data within the VM).

Upgrading to Fusion 7

Upgrading from Fusion 6 to Fusion 7 is a painless process. Begin by purchasing a license key from VMware's website. The next step is to download Fusion 7. The file is approximately 357 MB.

Once the download completes, double-click the .dmg file. The VMware Fusion installer will open. Double-click the VMware Fusion icon that appears to install the application (you'll need to confirm the application downloaded from the internet is valid and you wish to install by clicking the provided Open button).

Next, you'll be prompted to enter a username/password possessing administrative rights. VMware Fusion 7 will then install and initialize.

When the initial installation process is complete, the VMware Fusion registration screen appears. Enter the VMware Fusion 7 key you received. Fusion 7 then loads. The software automatically loaded my existing Windows 8.1 Professional VM.

My Windows 8.1 Professional VM was using hardware version 10. VMware Fusion 7 recommended upgrading to hardware version 11, which I did by going to Virtual Machine | Settings | Compatibility and clicking the Upgrade button. New hardware versions provide a myriad range of new capabilities, including improved 3D graphics performance improvements. Visit the website to find out more information about VMware hardware versions.

In addition to VMware Fusion 7 opening faster, Windows loads faster too. Best of all, my meticulously configured Windows 8.1 Professional installation, previously loaded within Fusion 6, works as reliably as before with no issues. When it comes to running VMs, that's the ultimate goal.

Have you upgraded to VMware Fusion 7? If so, was it seamless -- or did you run into difficulties? If you haven't upgraded yet, what's stopping you? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

By Erik Eckel

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...