What are 'VMware Tools'?

The VMware Tools are software installed on a guest VM for improving performance when running on a VMware/Esx, VMware/Player, VMware/Server or VMware/Workstation host. The tools provide:

  • VMware Network acceleration
  • VMware Video acceleration
  • Host to Guest time synchronization
  • Seamless mouse movement between host and guest
  • Cut & Paste - Guest to Host and Guest to Guest

  • Disk Shrink (with VMware Toolbox running at root)
  • Startup/Shutdown Scripts (with VMware Toolbox running at root)
  • HeartBeat (VMware/Esx only)

This page explains how to install the VMware Tools on an Ubuntu guest VM.

Installing VMware tools on an Ubuntu guest

VMware tools can be obtained from:

  • the open-vm-tools package in Ubuntu

  • packages.vmware.com
  • your VMware host (this method does not use .deb packages)

VMware recommends users to use open-vm-tools on Linux, including Ubuntu.

Installing from Ubuntu package open-vm-tools on Trusty Tahr 14.04 and later

open-vm-tools is the recommended method of installing VMware tools on Ubuntu. Packages are available in the main repository since 14.04.

# For desktop:
apt-get install open-vm-tools open-vm-tools-desktop

# For server and headless installations:
apt-get install open-vm-tools

If you are on Trusty after upgrading from an older release, you may need to use open-vm-tools-lts-trusty-desktop instead.

Legacy Ubuntu Installations

Given the nature of virtualization, there may be a need for continued usage of very old versions of Ubuntu. Instructions for 10.04 to 12.04 are listed below. For anything older, please consult VMware's installation guide.

Installing from Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs) on Lucid Lynx 10.04 to Precise Pangolin 12.04

The package open-vm-tools is available in the multiverse repository for releases 10.04 to 12.04. However, these versions are very out of date and may not have the drivers for newer versions of ESXi and VMware Workstation / Player / Fusion. For this reason, if you are still in need of a legacy Ubuntu VM, installation from VMware's repository is recommended. Use 12.04 package for Ubuntu 12.10, 13.04 and 13.10 releases.

To add the repository do:

Lucid: apt-add-repository 'deb https://packages.vmware.com/tools/releases/latest/ubuntu/ lucid main'
Natty: apt-add-repository 'deb https://packages.vmware.com/tools/releases/latest/ubuntu/ natty main'
Oneiric: apt-add-repository 'deb https://packages.vmware.com/tools/releases/latest/ubuntu/ oneiric main'
Precise: apt-add-repository 'deb https://packages.vmware.com/tools/releases/latest/ubuntu/ precise main'

wget http://packages.vmware.com/tools/keys/VMWARE-PACKAGING-GPG-RSA-KEY.pub -q -O- | \
    apt-key add -
# (The above links to the latest builds of VMware-tools; however,
# these packages should be compatible with all VMware servers, including the ESX 4 to vSphere ESXi 6.5.

# Next update your repos
apt-get update

Note: using apt-add-repository will also add an entry for sources, which are not available in the vmware repository. You'll need to manually delete the deb-src entry for "packages.vmware.com", which should be at the bottom of your /etc/apt/sources.list file.

To install do:

sudo apt-get install vmware-tools-esx-kmods-kernel_release
# Where kernel_release is the kernel release and type returned by the uname -r command.
# For example: vmware-tools-esx-kmods-2.6.32-21-generic

# Then for desktop VMs or those that need graphics support
sudo apt-get install vmware-tools-esx-nox

# Or for server and headless installations
sudo apt-get install vmware-tools-esx

# Some versions may require kernel headers
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-virtual

Verify the succesful installation

# Verify that the VMware Tools daemon, vmtoolsd, is running.
pgrep -fl vmtoolsd

# Verify that the required kernel modules load properly.

Kernel modules are only loaded for the virtual devices being used. However, the vmmemctl module should always be loaded.

Installing from your VMware host

Warning: This install method does not use Ubuntu packages. Instead, it bypasses dpkg and writes files directly to your system. This is generally not recommended.

Start up a terminal window and do the following to ensure that you have the required packages for building VMware Tools or your kernel.

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r` psmisc

NOTE: linux-headers-uname -r is not required on a default build as these headers already exist. They are listed here in case you have made kernel modifications.

From the VMware menu, choose VM->Install VMware Tools. You should see a mounted CD image show up on the desktop. In the File Browser that pops up, right-click the VMwareTools*.tar.gz file and extract to the Desktop.

If the cdrom was not automatically mounted, mount the cdrom (in your guest OS) by doing

# make a mount point if needed :
sudo mkdir /media/cdrom

# Mount the CD
sudo mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

# Copy and extract VMWareTools

sudo cp /media/cdrom/VMwareTools*.tar.gz ~/Desktop

# You can extract with archive manager, right click on the archive and extract ... or

tar xvf VMwareTools*.tar.gz

# Install as below

Open a terminal window, and run the following commands.

cd ~/Desktop/vmware-tools-distrib
sudo ./vmware-install.pl

During vmware-install.pl, choose the default answers to everything (just hit the <enter> key).

You can configure the tools as root

sudo vmware-toolbox

Otherwise run them as a user (not root)

  • In order for the synchronized clipboard and mouse to function as well as the host shared folders feature, you must have vmware-toolbox running, although you can minimize the window.

To have vmware tools auto start with your sessions, go to System->Preferences->Sessions->Startup Programs. Click Add, enter vmware-toolbox, Ok, Close.

If you are running a Kubuntu guest OS.

echo "/usr/bin/vmware-toolbox" > ~/.kde/Autostart/vmware-toolbox.sh
chmod +x ~/.kde/Autostart/vmware-toolbox.sh

In order to get the scroll wheel to work again after the above install, you will need to make a minor change to the xorg.conf file.

In the "Configured Mouse" section, change the following line as indicated:

Option "Protocol" "imps/2"

If you have more than five buttons (scroll wheel counts as three), then you might need the following line:

Option "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"

Restart X.

Additional Resources

VMware/Tools (last edited 2017-10-31 01:28:02 by dpsi)