Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)
View by Article ID

Overview of VMware Tools (340)

  • 637 Ratings
Language Editions


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 VMware vSphere, 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
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 (containing installers): 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: Mac OS X,Windows, Linux, NetWare, Solaris, and FreeBSD.

  • Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs): Downloadable binary packages that are built and provided by VMware for particular versions of Linux distributions. OSPs are typically available for older releases, such as RHEL 6.  Most current versions of Linux include Open VM Tools, eliminating the need to separately install OSPs. 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.

  • Open VM Tools (OVT): This is the open source implementation of VMware Tools intended for Linux distribution maintainers and virtual appliance vendors.  OVTs are generally included in the current versions of popular Linux distributions, allowing administrators to effortlessly install and update VMware Tools alongside other Linux packages. For more information, see VMware support for Open VM Tools (2073803)

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.

Additional Information

VMware Tools are normally bundled with VMware products as well as security updates when applicable. As of VMware Tools version 10, customers also have the option to download from My VMware
Two different downloadable archives are presented, one for recent guest Operating System releases and another that covers older, legacy guest operating system versions.

VMware Tools are typically forward and backward compatible with several product releases. For more information, see VMware Compatibility Guide.

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

Note: VMware Tools status can be found in the vmware.log file on the datastore.

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.


  • 637 Ratings

Did this article help you?
This article resolved my issue.
This article did not resolve my issue.
This article helped but additional information was required to resolve my issue.

What can we do to improve this information? (4000 or fewer characters)

Please enter the Captcha code before clicking Submit.
  • 637 Ratings