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Installing and upgrading the latest version of VMware Tools on existing hosts (2129825)

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Details

This article provides steps to install or upgrade VMware Tools for existing VMware ESXi hosts to the latest version of VMware Tools.
 
This article also helps in resolving the error:

The required vmware tools ISO image does not exist or is inaccessible. Vix 21001.

Solution

Besides the traditional approach of installing and upgrading VMware Tools bundled with VMware ESXi, the following approaches are also supported to install or upgrade to the latest version of VMware Tools regardless of VMware ESXi version.

VMware ESXi host can be configured to access VMware Tools ISO images  from /locker partition (available in case of full installed node) or from an NFS share. Using any one of the following two approaches, VMware Tools can be  installed or upgraded in a virtual machine.

Replacing the ISO images on the host

As the space on /locker partition on ESXi host is limited and may not have enough free space to store all VMware Tools packages, use of external NFS share is required when configuring legacy VMware Tools packages needed for installing and upgrading VMware Tools in legacy guest operating systems.
 
Note: Using this approach is not recommended for ESXi hosts that are updated using vSphere Update Manager.

In a full installed VMware ESXi node:

  1. All the bundled Tools ISO image files are located at /locker/packages/. Download and extract the VMware Tools packages from VMware Downloads. 
  2. From the extracted directory, copy the vmtools and floppies sub-directories to /productLocker.

Note: ProductLocker should be configured before powering on any VMs on the host. Installing or upgrading VMware Tools might fail for VMs powered on before configuring ProductLocker. For more information, see Virtual machine becomes invalid when VMware Tools installation or upgrade is initiated (2149452) and Installing or upgrading VMware Tools might fail for VMs powered on before configuring ProductLocker (2147383).   

Mounting the external NFS share 

  1. Download the VMware Tools packages from VMware Downloads. 
  2. Extract the packages to an external NFS share. 
  3. Add the external NFS share to the ESXi host using this command:    
     esxcli storage add nfs -H <HostIP> -s <shareName on the remote Host> -v <volumeName> 
  1. Use ESXi shell or vSphere Web Client to change the UserVars.ProductLockerLocation variable to point it to the directory containing the vmtools sub-directory extracted from the VMware Tools package. 

    Note: The extracted directory should contain vmtools sub-directory. 

    From ESXi shell:

    esxcli system settings advanced set -o /UserVars/ProductLockerLocation -s /vmfs/volumes/<volumeName>/<extracted directory>

    From vSphere Web Client:     

    1. Select the host and select Configure tab.   
    2. Click Advanced System Settings under System.   
    3. Click Edit and filter for ProductLockerLocation.   
    4. Set UserVars.ProductLockerLocation to <Path to extracted dir>.   
    5. Save the changes. 
     
  2. Reboot the ESXi host to update the new value of UserVars.ProductLockerLocation or put the host in maintenance mode(*) before manually setting up /productLocker symlink by removing /productLocker link and recreating /productLocker symlink to point it to the extracted directory under the NFS datastore.  
  3.    Enter the host in maintenance mode, esxcli system maintenanceMode set --enable true
       
        rm /productLocker
       
    ln -s /vmfs/volumes/<volumeName>/<extracted directory> /productLocker  
  4. Exit the host from maintenance mode, esxcli system maintenanceMode set --enable false
       
    (*)  If the host is running with ESXi 6.5 or later, put the host in maintenance mode to avoid failure of VM due to the host security policy when VMs try to access the new /productLocker link. ESXi 6.5 Update 1 provides a tool updateProductLockerPolicy, it can be used by following the steps:

    rm /productLocker

    ln -s /vmfs/volumes/<volumeName>/<extracted directory> /productLocker


    Use this command to get existing /productLocker symlink target known to ESXi kernel
    secpolicytools -d | grep $(basename $(readlink /productLocker)) | cut -d' ' -f2

    updateProductLockerPolicy <old-symlink-target-from-command-above> /vmfs/volumes/<volumeName>/<extracted directory>

After performing the preceding operations, the ESXi host is ready for installation or upgrade of VMware Tools in the virtual machines running on the host. In vSphere Web client, right click on the running Virtual Machine object and choose Install or Upgrade VMware Tools option. To install or upgrade VMware Tools, see Installing and upgrading VMware Tools in vSphere (2004754).

Note: Using this approach is not recommended for ESXi hosts that are provisioned using Auto Deploy. For more information on configuring host profile for hosts provisioned with Auto Deploy, see VMware Tools for hosts provisioned with Auto Deploy (2004018).  

Manually mount the ISO image 

Using this approach requires you to know which VMware Tools ISO should be used for the target guest operating system. For more information, see the relevant version of release notes based on the VMware Tools version. For example, see VMware Tools 10.1.0 Release Notes and VMware Tools 10.0.12 Release Notes for  ISO image name applicable for different versions of the guest operating systems.
 
To manually mount the ISO image:
  1. Download the VMware Tools package from https://my.vmware.com.
  2. Extract and copy the correct VMware Tools ISO image file for the target guest OS to a host-accessible location.
  3. Open the CD/DVD settings window for the virtual  machine.
  4. Connect the VMware Tools ISO image file to the virtual  CD/DVD drive.
  5. Follow the instructions in the Operating System Specific VMware Tools Setup guide to uninstall or upgrade the VMware Tools.
  6. At the end of the installation or upgrade, restart the guest operating system on prompt. 

After configuring VMware Tools packages on the host, if  VMware Tools install or upgrade fails due to unsupported guest error, see VMware Tools installation or upgrade might fail due to incorrect selection of VMware Tools ISO image (2147454) for more information.

Note: VMware Tools packages on https://my.vmware.com contain metadata files and signatures along with ISO images files must be completely extracted without missing files. Missing files during extraction might lead to unexpected errors during VMware Tools install, upgrade, and version status reporting.

Update History

1/2/2017 - Added error note :The required vmware tools iso image does not exist or is inaccessible. Vix 21001

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