Downgrade ESXi host from ESXi 5.5 to ESXi 5.1 Update 2

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I successfully downgrade 5.5 to 5.1 in our LAB environment using vicfg-cfgbackup.pl with a small work-around. The key was to to change the first line in the Manifest.txt to show a 5.1 config.

  1. use VMware vSphere CLI on your workstation and execute "vicfg-cfgbackup.pl --server 10.167.5.4 -s \esxi.tar.gz" save the 5.5 config to a gzipped tar ball
  2. I used Winscp to upload the .tar.gz back to the ESXi server to change some files. I tried this with 7z. didn’t work. It needs linux to properly pack the files. Extract the archive with “tar zxvf esxi.tar.gz” to a temp directory
  3. edit the Manifest.txt and change the line RELEASELEVEL=VMware ESXi 5.5.0 GA to RELEASELEVEL=VMware ESXi 5.1.0 Update 2
  4. create new tar archive with “tar zcvf esxi.tgz Manifest.txt state.tgz
  5. Upload the esxi.tgz back to your workstation
  6. install a fresh ESXi5.1 (choose install instead of upgrade, but keep the local datastores if any)
  7. apply the new config to a fresh ESXi5.1 with “vicfg-cfgbackup.pl --server 10.167.5.4 -l esxi.tgz

I kept the physical network and storage environment unchanged while downgrading and after the configuration restore, all the settings and even registered VMs were present. ESXi Saved me a lot of reconfiguration work! What I did next is I took a same configuration from all my hosts, just in case. Do this every month and your all set

2 thoughts on “Downgrade ESXi host from ESXi 5.5 to ESXi 5.1 Update 2”

  1. Thx for those great infos, I have the same HP Proliant server as in your lab and things are not going ok with esxi 5.5. Is this why you downgrade yours to 5.1 U2 ?

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