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Overview of VMware Tools (340)


This article:
  • Includes an overview of VMware Tools.
  • Lists the product documentation that contains instructions for installing VMware Tools.
  • Provides additional links to VMware Tools installation instructions and troubleshooting information.
For information on VMware Fusion, see Overview of VMware Tools for VMware Fusion (1022048).

For information on installing Tools in vSphere 5.x, see Installing VMware Tools in vSphere (2004754).


This article contains 3 sections:

Overview of VMware Tools

VMware Tools is a suite of utilities that enhances the performance of the virtual machines guest operating system and improves management of the virtual machine. Without VMware Tools installed in your guest operating system, guest performance lacks important functionality. Installing VMware Tools eliminates or improves these issues:
  • Low video resolution
  • Inadequate color depth
  • Incorrect display of network speed
  • Restricted movement of the mouse
  • Inability to copy and paste and drag-and-drop files
  • Missing sound
  • Provides the ability to take quiesced snapshots of the guest OS
  • Synchronizes the time in the guest operating system with the time on the host
  • Provides support for guest-bound calls created with the VMware VIX API
VMware Tools includes these components:
  • VMware Tools service
  • VMware device drivers
  • VMware user process
  • VMware Tools control panel
VMware Tools is provided in these formats:
  • ISOs (contain .tar files): These are packaged with the product and are installed in a number of ways, depending upon the VMware product and the guest operating system installed in the virtual machine. For more information, see the Installing VMware Tools section. VMware Tools provides a different ISO file for each type of supported guest operating system: Windows, Linux, NetWare, Solaris, and FreeBSD.

  • Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs): These are downloaded and installed from the command line on an ESXi/ESX host. VMware Tools is available as separate downloadable, light-weight packages that are specific to each supported Linux operating system and VMware product. OSPs are an alternative to the existing mechanism for installing VMware Tools and only support Linux systems running on ESXi/ESX. To download OSPs and to find important information and instructions, see VMware Tools Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs). For a list of supported guest operating systems, see VMware Compatibility Guide.

Installing VMware Tools

The steps to install VMware Tools vary depending on your VMware product and the guest operating system you have installed. For information on steps to install VMware Tools in most VMware products, see General VMware Tools installation instructions (1014294) or the Installing and Configuring VMware Tools Guide.

For specific instructions to install, upgrade, and configure VMware Tools, see one of these documents on the VMware Documentation:
  • VMware Workstation User's Manual
  • VMware ESX Basic System Administration guide
  • VMware Server User’s Guide
  • VMware Player in-product help

    Note: Select Help > Help Topics from the VMware Player product interface to access the online help.

Additional Information

If you experience issues when installing VMware Tools, see these articles for troubleshooting information:

For translated versions of this article, see:


inadequate-color-depth incorrect-network-speed low-view-resolution no-sound poor-mouse-performance vmware-tools-overview

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


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