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Manually Install or Upgrade VMware Tools in a Linux Virtual Machine

For Linux virtual machines, you manually install or upgrade VMware Tools by using the command line.

Install the latest version of VMware Tools to enhance the performance of the virtual machine's guest operating system and improve virtual machine management. When you power on a virtual machine, if a new version of VMware Tools is available, you see a notification in the status bar of the guest operating system.

This procedure describes how to use the VMware Tools tar installer to install or upgrade VMware Tools. For virtual machines in a vSphere environment, you can alternatively use VMware Tools operating system specific packages (OSPs) to install and upgrade VMware Tools. With OSPs you can use the native update mechanisms of your operating system to download, install, and manage VMware Tools. For more information, see Operating System Specific Packages for Linux Guest Operating Systems.


■ Power on the virtual machine.

■ Verify that the guest operating system is running.

■ Because the VMware Tools installer is written in Perl, verify that Perl is installed in the guest operating system.

■ To determine whether you have the latest version of VMware Tools, look on the Summary tab for the virtual machine.


1) Select the menu command to mount the VMware Tools virtual disc on the guest operating system.

VMware Product

Menu Command

vSphere Client

Inventory > Virtual Machine > Guest > Install/Upgrade VMware Tools

2) If you are performing an upgrade or reinstallation, in the Install/Upgrade VMware Tools dialog box, select Interactive Tools Installation or Interactive Tools Upgrade and click OK.

The process starts by mounting the VMware Tools virtual disc on the guest operating system.

3) In the virtual machine, log in to the guest operating system as root and open a terminal window.

4) Run the mount command with no arguments to determine whether your Linux distribution automatically mounted the VMware Tools virtual CD-ROM image.

If the CD-ROM device is mounted, the CD-ROM device and its mount point are listed as something like this:

/dev/cdrom on /mnt/cdrom type iso9660 (ro,nosuid,nodev)

5) If the VMware Tools virtual CD-ROM image is not mounted, mount the CD-ROM drive.

a : If a mount point directory does not already exist, create it.

mkdir /mnt/cdrom

Some Linux distributions use different mount point names. For example, on some distributions the mount point is /media/VMware Tools rather than /mnt/cdrom. Modify the command to reflect the conventions that your distribution uses.

b : Mount the CD-ROM drive.

mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

Some Linux distributions use different device names or organize the /dev directory differently. If your CD-ROM drive is not /dev/cdrom or if the mount point for a CD-ROM is not /mnt/cdrom, modify the command to reflect the conventions that your distribution uses.

6) Change to a working directory (for example, /tmp).

cd /tmp

7) Delete any previous vmware-tools-distrib directory before you install VMware Tools.

The location of this directory depends on where you placed it during the previous installation. Often this directory is placed in /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib.

8) List the contents of the mount point directory and note the filename of the VMware Tools tar installer.

ls mount-point

9) Uncompress the installer.

tar zxpf /mnt/cdrom/VMwareTools-x.x.x-yyyy.tar.gz
The value x.x.x is the product version number, and yyyy is the build number of the product release.

If you attempt to install a tar installation over an RPM installation, or the reverse, the installer detects the previous installation and must convert the installer database format before continuing.

10) If necessary, unmount the CD-ROM image.

umount /dev/cdrom

If your Linux distribution automatically mounted the CD-ROM, you do not need to unmount the image.

11) Run the installer and configure VMware Tools.

cd vmware-tools-distrib


Usually, the vmware-config-tools.pl configuration file runs after the installer file finishes running.

12) Respond to the prompts by pressing Enter to accept the default values, if appropriate for your configuration.

13) Follow the instructions at the end of the script.

Depending on the features you use, these instructions can include restarting the X session, restarting networking, logging in again, and starting the VMware User process. You can alternatively reboot the guest operating system to accomplish all these tasks.

The VMware Tools label on the Summary tab changes to OK.

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