How to Install VMWare Tools on Guest VMs?

VMWare Tools is a pack of tools that improves the performance of a virtual machine guest operating system and improves virtual machine management. VMWare Tools includes the drivers necessary for the correct operation of the guest OS in a virtualization environment. After installing VMTools, some of the OS drivers are replaced with optimized drivers (for example, the vmxnet3 network driver). If the VMWare Tools set is not installed in the virtual machine, then the guest operating system is missing some important functions and capabilities.

VMware Tools is supported on 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, and more.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to install VMWare Tools on various guest OSes.

Also, thanks to the presence of VMTools in the guest OS, it is provided:

  1. Correct and smooth migration (VMotion and Storage VMotion) between ESXi hosts;
  2. Performing automatic restart of a hung VM on another host using VMware High Availability (HA);
  3. Correct connection and disconnection of disks and ISO image files;
  4. OS customization is available when installing from a VM template (changing the administrator password, setting up automatic login to the OS, changing the unique UID when cloning using sysprep, etc.);
  5. OS performance increases;
  6. Using memory ballooning to optimize host RAM.
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To check if VMWare tools is installed in the guest OS of the virtual machine, select it in the vSphere client.

If VMTools is not installed, the status will be “Not Running, not installed”.

vmware tools

Installing VMWare Tools on Windows

To install VMTools in a Windows guest VM, you need to mount the ISO file from the vSphere Client.

  1. Select the menu Actions > Guest OS > Install VMWare Tools;
    install vmware tools on windows
  2. Confirm to disk image mount. This action will connect and mount the iso image with the installation files to the VM;
    install vmware tools on windows machine
  3. Now log into the Windows guest via the VMWare console or RDP. Run the File Explorer and go to This PC. Find VMWare Tools DVD drive in the list of connected drives and double click on it;
  4. In the VMTools installation window that opens, click Next several times and confirm the VM reboot;
    install vmware tools windows
  5. Now you can disconnect the VMware Tools installation image file from the virtual machine (Action > Guest OS > Unmount VMWare Tools Installer);
    windows install vmware tools
  6. You can check that the VMware Tool is installed in the guest OS in the properties of the virtual machine (VMWare Tools: Running, version:xxx (Current).
    vmware tools windows

Installing VMware Tools on Linux

In Linux distros there are two ways to install VMWare tools: using the vmtools ISO file (similar to Windows) and using the open-source Open-VM-Tools package.

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Installing VMTools via ISO image is similar to Windows, only a perl script is used to run the installation. For example, on CentOS, installation is performed like this:

Hint. You can install all the dependencies required to install VMTools using the command: yum -y install kernel-devel gcc dracut make perl

  1. Mount the ISO image with VMTools;
  2. In a Linux guest, mount the ISO image to /mnt: mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/
  3. Unpack the archive with VMTools:
    cd /mnt/ tar -zxvf VMwareTools-versionxxxx.tar.gz -C /tmp/
  4. Go to the directory /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/ and run the perl script:
    cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/ ./vmware-install.pl
  5. Complete the installation of the VMware Tools package by answering the installer’s questions (for silent installation, use the –force-install option).
  6. If necessary, reboot the guest OS;
  7. Check that the service is running: systemctl is-active vmware-tool;
  8. It remains to delete the temporary files and mount the ISO image:
    rm -rf vmware-* VMwareTools-* umount -f /dev/cdrom

You can also install VMTools using the Open-VM-Tools (OVT) package from VMware. The package is available for installation from the base repositories using YUM or APT.

For example, on Debian/Ubuntu, the following commands are used to install OVT:

apt-get update

apt-get install open-vm-tools

If you are using Ubuntu GUI install the open-vm-tools-desktop package:

apt-get install open-vm-tools open-vm-tools-desktop

In CentOS/RHEL use the following commands:

yum update

yum -y install open-vm-tools

To start the service and add it to startup, run:

service vmtoolsd start

chkconfig vmtoolsd on

Please note that after installing OVT, you will see the following VMTools status for the VM:

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install vmware tools linux

    • Running Status: Running
    • Version Status: Guest Managed
      The VMware Tools status is unknown. A VMware Tools implementation is installed on the guest operating system, but it is not managed by VMware.
    • Installation Type: Open-source VMware Tools
Cyril Kardashevsky

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