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Updating VMware Tools fails with the error: Update Tools failed. Edit the virtual machine's vmx file (2007298)

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Symptoms

  • You are unable to update VMware Tools.
  • Updating VMware Tools fails.
  • You see the error:

    Update Tools failed. Edit the virtual machine's vmx file, add the line below and try again. Please read KB article 1714 on tips for editing a vmx file.

    isolation.tools.guestInitiatedUpgrade.disable = "FALSE"

Cause

This issue occurs because, for security purposes, updating VMware Tools from within the guest is disabled by default.

Resolution

To resolve this issue, enable VMware Tools updates from within the guest by updating the virtual machine configuration file.

To update the virtual machine configuration file:

In Fusion, Player, or Workstation

  1. Shut down the virtual machine, if it is running.
  2. Open the virtual machine configuration file (.vmx) using a text editor. For more information, see:

  3. Add this line to the end of the file:

    isolation.tools.guestInitiatedUpgrade.disable = "FALSE"

  4. Save and close the .vmx file.
  5. Power on the virtual machine.
  6. Start the VMware Tools upgrade within the guest operating system.

In ESXi/ESX using the vCenter Server GUI

  1. Shut down the virtual machine, if it is running.
  2. Open the datastore browser and navigate to the virtual machine directory.

  3. Using the GUI option, download the .vmx to your local desktop.

  4. Create a backup of the .vmx on your local workstation.

  5. Open the .vmx file using a text editor and add this line to the end of the file:

    isolation.tools.guestInitiatedUpgrade.disable = "FALSE"

    Note: For more information, see Tips for editing a .vmx file (1714).

  6. When saved, upload the file via the datastore browser GUI.

  7. Power on the virtual machine.
  8. Verify functionality before deleting the .vmx backup on your local workstation.
  9. Start the VMware Tools upgrade within the guest operating system.

In ESXI/ESX using the Web and vSphere Client

  1. Login to vCenter Server/Virtual Center using vSphere Client/Web Client.
  2. Right-click on virtual machine and click to shutdown or Power off the virtual machine.
  3. Right-click on virtual machine and click edit settings.
  4. Click the Options tab and select General under Advanced.
  5. Click Configuration Parameters and a new window opens.
  6. Click Add Row and type isolation.tools.guestInitiatedUpgrade.disable and FALSE under Value
  7. Click OK twice to close all the windows.

In ESXi/ESX using the command line

  1. Shut down the virtual machine if it is running.
  2. Open an SSH session to a host. For more information, see Using ESXi Shell in ESXi 5.0 and 5.1 (2004746) or Using Tech Support Mode in ESXi 4.1 and ESXi 5.x (1017910).
  3. Navigate to the virtual machine directory.

  4. Run this command to create a backup of the .vmx file:

    cp .vmx .vmx.backup


  5. Open the .vmx file with a text editor and add this line to the end of the file:

    isolation.tools.guestInitiatedUpgrade.disable = "FALSE"

    Note: For more information, see Editing files on an ESX host using vi or nano (1020302).

  6. Power on the virtual machine.
  7. Verify the virtual machine is functional before deleting the backup file. To delete the backup file, run the command:

    – rm .vmx.backup

  8. Start the VMware Tools upgrade within the guest operating system.

Additional Information

Note: To work around this issue, connect directly to the ESXi/ESX host or the vCenter Server and upgrade VMware Tools on the virtual machine. For more information, see General VMware Tools installation instructions (1014294).

Tags

cannot-install-tools  install-vmware-tools-fails  vmware-tools-install-fails  vmware-tools-install-upgrade-fails  vmware-tools-upgrade-fails  upgrading-vmware-tools-fails  missing-setting

See Also

Update History

2/27/2012 - Added steps to edit .vmx in ESXi 04/01/2013 - Added information about cause. 09/06/2013 - Added VMware Player 6.x (Windows & Linux) and Workstation 10.x (Windows & Linux) and Fusion 6.x to Product Versions. 08/26/2014 - Updated for Fusion 7.x 02/12/2014 - Updated for Workstation 11.x 02/12/2014 - Updated for Player 7.x

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