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Installing VMware Tools in a Linux virtual machine using a Compiler (1018414)

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This article provides steps to install VMware Tools in a Linux guest operating system using Compiler.

Note: For an overview of installing VMware Tools, see Overview of VMware Tools (340).


Note: If your Linux distribution is not RPM-based, has a custom kernel, or is unsupported, use the steps below to compile VMware Tools, otherwise, see Installing VMware Tools in a Linux virtual machine using RPM (1018392).

To install VMware Tools in a Linux guest operating system using Compiler:

  1. Ensure that your Linux virtual machine is powered on.

  2. If you are running a GUI interface, open a command shell.

    Note: Log in as a root user, or use the sudo command to complete each of these steps.

  3. Click VM in the virtual machine menu, then click Guest > Install/Upgrade VMware Tools.
  4. Click OK.

    Note: In some cases, verify that the CDROM device is Connected from within the Edit Settings option of the virtual machine.

  5. To create a mount point, run:

    mkdir /mnt/cdrom

  6. To mount the CDROM, run:

    mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

  7. To copy the Compiler gzip tar file to a temporary local directory, run:

    cp /mnt/cdrom/VMwareTools-version.tar.gz /tmp/

    Where version is the VMware Tools package version.

  8. To determine the version of VMware tools, run:

    ls /mnt/cdrom

    You see output similar to:

    # VMwareTools-5.0.0-12124.tar.gz

  9. To change to the tmp directory and extract the contents of the tar file into a new directory called vmware-tools-distrib, run:

    cd /tmp
    tar -zxvf VMwareTools-version.tar.gz

  10. To change directory to vmware-tools-distrib and run the PERL script to install VMware Tools, run:

    cd vmware-tools-distrib

    • Complete the screen prompts to install the VMware Tools. Options in square brackets are default choices and can be selected by pressing Enter.
    • To compile VMware Tools successfully, you need gcc Compiler and Linux Kernel sources provided by your Linux distribution. Consult your Linux distribution documentation for details on methods to install these packages.
    • It is normal for the console screen to go blank for a short time during the installation when the display size changes.
    • Some warnings or errors are normal, like when a files does not exist.
    • Depending on the Linux distribution, your network service might restart after installation. VMware recommends that you invoke this command from the console and not remotely.

  11. If you are running a GUI interface, restart your X Window session for any mouse or graphics changes to take effect.

  12. To start VMware Tools running in the background during an X Window session, run:

    /usr/bin/vmware-toolbox &

  13. Depending on your environment, you may need to unmount the CD-ROM. To unmount the CD-ROM, run:

    umount /mnt/cdrom

  14. Depending on your environment, you may need to manually end the VMware Tools installation. To end the VMware Tools install, click VM in the virtual machine menu, then click Guest > End VMware Tools Install.

  15. To remove VMware Tools installation packages, run:

    rm /tmp/VMwareTools-version.tar.gz
    rm -rf /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib

Additional Information

For general VMware Tools installation information, see General VMware Tools installation instructions (1014294).

If you experience a symbolic link creation error during installation, see Unable to create the symbolic link when installing VMware Tools in Linux (2010580).

If you are running an unsupported distribution or using an unsupported kernel version and are not able to compile modules or install VMware Tools, VMware recommends that you explore the VMware community support forums. There are regular discussions on the forums about the latest development kernels and workarounds for building VMware Tools modules.

VMware tools can be uninstalled using the /usr/bin/ script. For related information, see Installing VMware Tools in vSphere (2004754).

Note: VMware Tools no longer includes drivers for x Server 1.8 or higher. Ensure that these SVGA and mouse drivers are installed before installing VMware Tools:
  • xorg-x11-drv-vmware
  • xorg-x11-drv-vmmouse
If the drivers are not installed, VMware Tools installation will skip the x Windows configuration.

For translated versions of this article, see:

See Also

Update History

01/27/2012 - Added link, Unable to create symbolic link when installing VMware Tools in Linux 03/12/2012 - Added ESX/ESXi 4.1 and 5.0 to product list 12/06/2012 - Added new Step 7 03/19/2013 - Added note about installing SVGA and mouse drivers for x Windows to the additional information section 03/12/2015 - Added ESXi 5.1, 5.5, and 6.0

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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  • 165 Ratings