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Installing VMware Tools in a Windows NT Service Pack 3 Guest (1304)


I am trying to install VMware Tools in a Windows NT Service Pack 3 guest operating system. The installer reports an incompatible version of Windows. What does this mean?


Current versions of Workstation, GSX Server and ESX Server support Windows NT Service Pack 6a, which contains support for the most recent Microsoft Installer (MSI) engine.

The VMware Tools package does not install automatically in a Windows NT Service Pack 3 guest operating system because the VMware Tools installer uses the MSI engine version 2 and Windows NT with Service Pack 3 supports only version 1 of the MSI engine.

Windows NT guests with Service Pack 4 or higher do not have this problem.

This issue has been resolved for GSX Server 3.1 and later, including all subsequent versions of VMware ESX.

Note: For important supportability information, see the VMware Compatibility Guide. Service Pack 6a is required for support of this guest operating system on VMware ESX platforms.


If an upgrade to Service Pack 6a is not possible, you can alternatively install and use an older version of the MSI engine in the virtual machine. An older version is included in the VMware-Tools ISO image.
  1. Begin installing VMware Tools in the virtual machine.

    • For a virtual machine running under Workstation or GSX Server, choose VM > Install VMware Tools.
    • For a virtual machine running under ESX Server, choose Settings > VMware Tools Install.

    This action mounts the VMware Tools ISO image and starts the VMware Tools installation process, which fails because of the MSI version problem. Ignore the failure.

  2. In the virtual machine, browse to the msi directory in the VMware Tools CD image (usually D:\msi) and double-click instmsi.exe. This installs the MSI engine version 1.1.

  3. In the virtual machine, browse to the VMware Tools CD image (usually drive D:) and double-click the file VMware Tools.msi. This installs the VMware Tools.


1304; 1305; SP3; SP6; MSI; runtime; urlz

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