Installing VMware Tools on Linux

Installing VMware Tools

When creating guest operating systems in your VMware Workstation setup, it’s a good idea to make sure that VMware Tools are installed. To be clear, VMware tools is a software package that installs on the guest OS, not the host. VMware tools do many helpful things. One of the nicest things it does is to provide a seamless mouse experience between the host and guest operating systems. What we mean by this is as you move your mouse between your host and then into the guest OS, you may experience times when the mouse appears to freeze inside VMware and you essentially lose your mouse so to speak. VMware tools prevent mouse lock by synchronizing mouse input between the Host and Guest OS. In addition to this nice feature, VMware tools improve video performance in the guest OS, enables file sharing between guest and host, provide Unity mode, as well as Guest OS shutdown and restart options. Let’s install VMware tools on our Ubuntu Desktop now.

Select VM – Install VMware Tools

Select VM - Install VMware Tools

Extract VMware Tools to the Ubuntu Desktop

You will see that once you selected Install VMware Tools, there will now be a CD mounted within Ubuntu.  In the screenshot, you can see this with a ‘DVD’ icon on it. This holds the VMware tools distribution. Right click the VMwareTools.x.x.x-xxxx.tar.gz and extract the contents to the Ubuntu desktop.
VMware tools distribution

Run sudo ./ -d at the terminal

Within the distribution is a Perl script which will install VMware tools for you when you run it.  Here are the contents of that file.

dir=`dirname $0`

echo "VMware Tools installation start `date`" >> ${LOGFILE}
${dir}/ "$@" 2>&1 | tee -a ${LOGFILE}
echo "VMware Tools installation end `date`" >> ${LOGFILE}

note: The -d switch instructs the command to run and accept all defaults as it progresses. This should be fine.

intall vmware tools at terminal ubuntu

Reboot Ubuntu once the prior step is complete.

In order to complete the installation of VMware tools in Ubuntu Linux, we need to reboot the virtual machine. Do this at the terminal by simply typing sudo reboot.
reboot Ubuntu

Confirm VMware Tools is running at the terminal

Once the virtual machine reboots, go back to the terminal so we can check the status of VMware tools.  By typing service vmware-tools status we can see some output that confirms it is active and running on our machine.

Confirm VMware Tools is running at the terminal

How To Use The Terminal To Install and Uninstall VMware Tools

If you prefer to handle things in Linux entirely from the command line, this is easy to do as well. Since we have VMware tools already installed, we will need to uninstall first. This can be easily done with the command sudo  In the screenshot, we can see the message Uninstalling the tar installation of VMware Tools.  Stopping services for VMware Tools, Stopping VMware Tools services in the virtual machine, Stopping Thinprint services in the virtual machine, etc…
uninstall vmware tools Ubuntu

After this, be sure to reboot the guest via sudo reboot before continuing. Now we are ready to install VMware tools on Ubuntu using the terminal. Simply type sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools to complete the process. Once this is done we can confirm the service is running with service open-vm-tools status.  We see the service is loaded, enabled, active, and running.
vmware tools service is running

Installing VMware Tools on Linux Summary

When we first created a virtual machine with VMware Workstation, we chose the easy install option. When this is selected, if the guest OS is Windows, then VMware tools get installed automatically for you. In the case of Linux, we need to install VMware tools manually. In this tutorial, we did just that on a fresh installation of Ubuntu Desktop as a virtual machine in VMware Workstation. It is a best practice to have VMware tools installed on the guest due to the many benefits it provides such as preventing mouse lock, improving video performance, enabling file sharing between host and guest, unity mode, and many others. Have fun with your Ubuntu VM!