VMware Workstation 15 - Install VMware Tools on Linux (Debian / Ubuntu)

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When you want to install VMware Tools on a Windows virtual machine or a Windows Server virtual server with GUI, installing VMware Tools is very easy.
Nevertheless, on Linux, this is often complicated because you will have to go through the command line.

Tutorial tested on Debian and Ubuntu 18.04.

  1. Installing packages : open-vm-tools and open-vm-tools-desktop
  2. Installing VMware Tools to support VMware shared folders

1. Installing packages : open-vm-tools and open-vm-tools-desktop

If you look at the VMware site, you will see that VMware recommends installing the package available for most Linux distributions.
This makes installing your virtual machine drivers very easy.

Indeed, all you have to do is obtain root rights with the "su" command.

Then, install the "open-vm-tools" package.

Bash

apt-get install open-vm-tools

Plain Text

...
Suggested packages:
open-vm-tools-desktop cloud-init
...

Note that installing the "open-vm-tools" package only will not allow you to benefit from all the features of the classic VMware Tools.
As stated in the official VMware documentation, you will also need to install the "open-vm-tools-desktop" package if you want to take advantage of these features :

  • copy/paste
  • drag and drop
  • automatic resizing of the guest OS according to the size of the window on the host PC

Bash

apt-get install open-vm-tools-desktop

2. Installing VMware Tools to support VMware shared folders

With these 2 packages installed in seconds, you'll be able to use almost all the features offered by standard VMware Tools with one exception : VMware file sharing support (available in the virtual machine settings).

As stated on the VMware site, if you want to use this feature, you will need the vmhgfs driver which is not included by default in Linux distributions and in the "open-vm-tools" and "open-vm-tools-desktop" packages.

To install this driver, you will need the classic virtual CD of VMware Tools.
To begin, insert the VMware Tools virtual CD through the "VM -> Install VMware Tools" menu of VMware Workstation.

Then, open a terminal and type these commands.

Mount the virtual CD on the "/mnt/cdrom" mount point.

Bash

mkdir /mnt/cdrom
mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

List the files of this virtual CD by typing this command :

Bash

ls /mnt/cdrom

Plain Text

manifest.txt VMwareTools-10.3.2-9925305.tar.gz vmware-tools-upgrader-64
run_upgrader.sh vmware-tools-upgrader-32

Uncompress the file "VMwareTools-xx.x.x-xxxxxxx.tar.gz" in the temporary directory of your Linux distribution.

Bash

tar xzvf /mnt/cdrom/VMwareTools-10.3.2-9925305.tar.gz -C /tmp/

Go into the "vmware-tools-distrib" folder of the uncompressed file.

Bash

cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/

Start the installation of VMware Tools with the default options (thanks to the "-d" param).
This will save you from pressing Enter for the ten or so questions asked.

Bash

./vmware-install.pl -d

During the installation, you will see a message that tells you that VMware shared folders will now work.

Plain Text

The VMware Host-Guest Filesystem allows for shared folders between the host OS and the guest OS in a Fusion or Workstation environment. Do you wish to enable this feature? [yes]
INPUT: [yes] default

And this will be displayed at the end :

Plain Text

The configuration of VMware Tools 10.3.2 build-9925305 for Linux for this running kernel completed successfully.

Enjoy,

--the VMware team

Finally, restart your virtual machine using this command :

Bash

reboot

Tutorial based on the official procedure provided by VMware : Installing VMware Tools in an Ubuntu Virtual Machine (1022525)