How to Choose and Add VMware Ethernet Adapter

How to choose a VMware Ethernet adapter? In the article, you will learn about VMware virtual network adapter types and how to configure virtual network adapter.


By Crystal / Updated on March 8, 2023

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Types of VMware Ethernet adapter

VMware virtual machines have different types of VMware Ethernet adapters, which vary by the guest operating system and virtual machine compatibility. So how to choose a proper network adapter for your virtual machine?

First, you should know the definitions of different VMware virtual network adapter types, which can be further divided into emulated virtual network adapters, semi-virtualized virtual network adapters, and hybrid virtual network adapters.

Tips: The network adapter types here refer to the VMware vSphere, while in VMware Workstation network adapter type are not the same.

Emulated virtual network adapters

Vlance: It is an older 10 Mbps network adapter that emulates the AMD 79C970 PCnet32 LANCE NIC, whose drivers are only available for 32-bit legacy operating systems. Virtual machines using this network adapter can immediately connect to the Internet.

E1000: This virtual network adapter emulates the Intel 82545EM Gigabit Ethernet Adapter and its drivers are available for many operating systems, including Windows XP and later and Linux versions 2.4.19 and later.

E1000E: It emulates the Intel 82574 Gigabit Ethernet adapter with drivers for newer operating systems and is also the default network adapter for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

Semi-virtualized virtual network adapters

Typically, the VMXNET virtual network adapters provides greater performance than emulated network adapters and also transports network traffic between virtual machine and physical network adapters with minimal I/O costs. In addition, its drivers are also available for most of the guest operating systems supported by VMware Cloud on AWS.

VMXNET: The performance is optimized in virtual machines, but since the OS vendor does not provide a built-in driver for this network adapter, you must install VMware Tools to get the appropriate driver.

VMXNET 2: This is an enhanced version of VMXNET that provides high-performance features commonly used on modern networks, such as jumbo frames and hardware offloads, but VMXNET2 is only available for certain guest operating systems on ESX/ ESXi 3.5 and later.

VMXNET 3: This NIC is designed to improve performance. VMXNET3 not only provides all the features in VMXNET2, but also adds some new features such as multiqueue support (Receive Side Scaling), IPv6 offload and MSI/MSI-X interrupt delivery. VMXNET3 is not related to VMXNET or VMXNET2.

Hybrid virtual network adapters

This NIC identifies itself as a Vlance network adapter when virtual machine starts up and executes as either a Vlance or VMXNET adapter at initialization, depending on which driver is initialized. In addition, after installing VMware Tools, the VMXNET driver will change the Vlance adapter to VMXNET NIC.

Above all, the VMXNET3 virtual network adapter is the best choice if you are running a virtual machine on the VMware vSphere.

How to add VMware Ethernet adapter

Changing the VMware Ethernet adapter will cause the MAC address (Ethernet address) to change and the license of some software to expire. So, how to set up the VMware virtual network adapter properly?

This part will introduce how to add VMware virtual network adapter in Windows 10 based on the VMware vSphere 6.5 Web Client. The old virtual network adapter here refers to the E1000 as an example.

1. First power off your virtual machine in the vSphere Web client and note the MAC address in Edit Settings.

note MAC address

2. In Edit Settings, select the remove icon next to the network adapter.

remove VMware virtual network adapter

3. Now you have removed the VMware network adapter. Please click ADD NEW DEVICE >> Network Adapter.

add new network adapter

4. In the opened window, select New Adapter >> Adapter Type (VMXNET 3).

configure NIC type

Tips: After configuring the VMware virtual network adapter, please change the Status settings as Connect at power on.

5. Change the MAC address from Automatic to Manual and enter the MAC address noted in the first step.

MAC Manual

6. Click OK to finish it. After that, if your VMware cannot connect to Internet, you can perform troubleshooting.

If your virtual machine is set up with the older virtual network adapter (such as the E1000 or the previous two generations of VMXNET), it is recommended that you add a new VMware virtual network adapter such as VMXNET3 as soon as possible. And if your virtual machine stores the important business data, you should backup VMware first.

3 steps to backup VMware VM before changing Ethernet adapter

As we mentioned before, adding an Ethernet adapter to a virtual machine will change the MAC address and lead to the licensed expired. In addition, there are many common problems, such as VMware Ethernet adapters not working, not online, not showing, etc. These Internet factors have the potential to affect your business continuity and threaten the data security.

With the built-in backup methods such as cloning virtual machines or exporting VM from ESXi, it’s complicated to back up and manage multiple virtual machines automatically. So I will offer the free and convenient VMware ESXi backup solution for you here.

A free backup solution for VMware virtual machines

The free VMware backup tool - AOMEI Cyber Backup is such a program designed to automate backup and protect virtual machines in your production environment. It simplifies the VM backup and management process via its intuitive interface and flexible backup strategies. With the professional backup software, you can benefit from the following features.

Perpetual free: no time limit for AOMEI Cyber Backup Free Edition.
Support free ESXi: support both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi.
Easy-to-use: backup and restore multiple virtual machines via central console without complicated configuration and reinstallation.
Fast disaster recovery: You can instantly restore the entire virtual machine to its previous status with a few clicks.
Automatically hot backup: It protects your virtual machines automatically even though the VMs are running, which maintains the business continuity and minimizes operational disruptions.
Full compatibility: It supports VMs on VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions, as well as Hyper-V in Windows 8/8.1/10/11, Windows Server/Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 and later versions.

Please hit the button below to download and use AOMEI Cyber Backup for free:

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

1. Download AOMEI Cyber Backup and bind vCenter or Standalone ESXi host

add VMware ESXi host

2. Create VMware virtual machine backups for free:

  • Click Backup Task >> Create New Task.
  • Enter backup task name and select VMware ESXi Backup.
  • Select the VMware ESXi host and virtual machines.

select virtual machines for backup

  • Select a target to store virtual machine backups such as local or network. It’s also convenient to backup VMs to NAS or to external hard drive.

store VM

  • Schedule backups with full / differential / incremental backup strategies and specify a time to run the task automatically such as daily / weekly / monthly.

schedule VM backup

  • Review the information and click Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.

start VM backup

3. Click Restore to recover the VMware virtual machine to the previous status in the original host.

restore VM

✍ While the Free Edition covers most of the VM backup needs, you can also upgrade to Premium Edition to enjoy:
✦ Batch VM Backup: Batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server or standalone ESXi hosts.
✦ Backup Cleanup: Specify retention policy to delete unwanted VM backups automatically, thus saving storage space and cost.
✦ Restore to new location: Easily make a clone of a virtual machine in the same or another datastore/host, without reinstalling or configuring a new VM.

Restore to new location


This article introduces the types of VMware network adapter and how to add it to VM correctly. If you are not sure how to choose the right VMware Ethernet adapter, hope this can help you.

Note that adding an Ethernet adapter to a virtual machine will change the MAC address and may lead to the licensed expired, VMware Ethernet adapters not working, not online, not showing, etc. In case of such problems that will affect your business continuity, it's also recommended to make virtual machine backup first.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.