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Installing VMware Tools in vSphere (2004754)


VMware Tools is a suite of utilities that enhances the performance of the virtual machine’s guest operating system and improves management of the virtual machine.

Although the guest operating system can run without VMware Tools, many VMware features are not available until you install VMware Tools. For example, if you do not have VMware Tools installed in your virtual machine, you cannot use the shutdown or restart options from the toolbar. You can use only the power options.

This article references the correct procedures for installing or upgrading the VMware Tools in Windows based virtual machines. For all other supported operating systems, see Installing and Configuring VMware Tools.


If you are installing VMware Tools in a number of Windows virtual machines, you can automate its installation when using vCenter Server by selecting the Virtual Machines tab for a host or cluster and select the virtual machines on which to install or upgrade VMware Tools.

When deploying VMware Tools, you can specify options for the components you want to include or exclude.

Manually installing or upgrading VMware Tools in a single Windows virtual machine

All supported Windows guest operating systems support VMware Tools.

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.

For Windows 2000 and later, VMware Tools installs a virtual machine upgrade helper tool. This tool restores the network configuration if you upgrade from virtual hardware version 4 to version 7 or higher.

  • Power on the virtual machine.
  • Verify that the guest operating system is running.
  • For vSphere virtual machines, to determine whether you have the latest version of VMware Tools, in the vSphere Client inventory, select the virtual machine and click the Summary tab.
  • If the guest operating system is a Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 operating system, log in as an administrator. Any user can install VMware Tools in a Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me guest operating system.
  1. Select the menu command to mount the VMware Tools virtual disc on the guest operating system.

    vSphere Client – Inventory > Virtual Machine > Guest > Install/Upgrade VMware Tools
    vSphere Web Client – All Actions icon > Configuration > Install/Upgrade VMware Tools

  2. If you are using vCenter Server and are performing an upgrade or reinstallation, in the Install/Upgrade VMware Tools dialog, 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. If you are installing VMware Tools for the first time, click OK in the Install VMware Tools information screen.

    If autorun is enabled for the CD-ROM drive in the guest operating system, the VMware Tools installation wizard appears.

  4. If autorun is not enabled, to manually launch the wizard, click Start > Run,type D:\setup.exe, where D: is your first virtual CD-ROM drive, and click OK.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions. To install nondefault components, select the Custom setup.
  6. If the New Hardware wizard appears, go through the wizard and accept the defaults.
  7. When prompted, reboot the virtual machine.
After the installation completes, the VMware Tools label on the Summary tab in vCenter Server changes to OK.

Operating System Specific Packages

VMware Tools OSP updates are provided separately from the VMware platform. VMware Tools OSPs are packaged in the native package format and follow the best practices and standards of the supported operating systems. For example, Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses the RPM package manager and Debian-based distributions use the Debian Packaging Standard (dpkg). For a current list of guests supported by VMware Tools OSPs, see the online VMware Compatibility Guide. For more information on VMware Tools OSP, see 
Operating System Specific Packages for Linux Guest Operating Systems section in VMware vSphere Documentation.
  • The OSPs are on the VMware Web site at
  • Locate the directory that corresponds to your ESXi installation and the operating system where you want to install OSPs.
  • To use VMware Tools OSPs, you must uninstall the existing VMware Tools to prevent package conflicts and incorrect operation of VMware Tools.
  • VMware tools can be downloaded from
  • Remove VMware Tools that were installed with the tar installer using the command:


  • Remove VMware Tools that were installed with the rpm installer using the command:

    # rpm -e VMwareTools
You can use the supported package managers to install OSPs in the following guest operating systems.
Package Manager Guest Operating System
yum Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, CentOS 6, CentOS 5, Oracle Linux 6, OEL 5
apt Ubuntu 8.04, 8.10, 9.04, 9.10, 10.04, 10.04.1, 10.10, Debian 4, Debian 5, Debian 6
rug SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
zypper SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP1, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP1
What to do next

VMware recommends that if you upgraded VMware Tools as part of a vSphere upgrade, upgrade to the newest virtual hardware version available for the virtual machine. For more information, see Upgrading hardware of a virtual machine to the latest version (1010675).

Automate the Installation of VMware Tools in a Windows Virtual Machine

If you are installing VMware Tools in a number of Windows virtual machines, you can automate its installation.

When using vCenter Server, you can use the Virtual Machines tab for a host or cluster and select the virtual machines on which to install or upgrade VMware Tools.

  • Power on the virtual machine.
  • Log in to the guest operating system as an administrator.
  • If you plan to use setup.exe at the command line to run the VMware Tools installation, edit the virtual machine settings to connect the virtual CD/DVD drive to the VMware Tools ISO image.
  • If you want to use MSI arguments to specify options regarding the silent installation, go to the Windows Installer page on the MSDN Web site to familiarize yourself with the syntax. You can use these arguments with the setup.exe command or place them in the vCenter Server dialog box for automatic installations and upgrades.
  • If you want to prevent some VMware Tools components from being installed, familiarize yourself with the VMware Tools component names so that you can specify which components to exclude. For more information, see the Names of VMware Tools Components Used in Silent Installations section in Installing and Configuring VMware Tools.
In vCenter Server, use the Virtual Machines tab to select multiple virtual machines.

  1. In the Inventory > Hosts and Clusters view, select the host, cluster, or datacenter and click the Virtual Machines tab.
  2. Control-click or Shift-click to select the virtual machines.
  3. Right-click the selected virtual machines and click Guest > Install/Upgrade VMware Tools.
  4. Complete the wizard.
To specify any MSI arguments or to specify which VMware Tools components to exclude, add the same arguments and options that you would for the setup.exe program in the Advanced text box.

Automate the Upgrade of VMware Tools in Multiple Windows Virtual Machines

This can be accomplished using one of these methods:
  1. PowerCLI update-tools commandlet. For more information, see the vSphere PowerCLI Documentation guide.

    This updates the VMware Tools on the specified virtual machine.

    C:\PS>Update-Tools 'myVM'

    The virtual machine must be powered on for this procedure.

  2. Update Manager can be used to provide vmware tools and virtual hardware upgrade baselines that can be applied to multiple virtual machines. For more information, see the vSphere Update Manager Administration Guide

  3. Virtual Machine check/upgrade tools during power cycle.

    Note: The Check and upgrade Tools during power cycling feature does not work in ESXi 5.0. For more information, see the the known issues section in the VMware vSphere 5.0 Release Notes.

    1. In the Sphere Client Inventory right-click the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
    2. Click the Options tab.
    3. Click VMware Tools.
    4. Select Check and upgrade tools during power cycling.
For more information, see Installing VMware Tools in a Windows virtual machine (1018377).

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see:



Update History

10/01/2012 - Added Debian to list of Guest Operating Systems

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