How to Install VMware Tools on Ubuntu [9 Easy Steps]

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Last updated: July 26, 2023

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To install VMware tools on Ubuntu, you can follow these steps:

  1. Update and upgrade your system by running: sudo apt update and sudo apt upgrade.
  2. Install Open VM Tools by executing: sudo apt install open-vm-tools in the Terminal.
  3. Verify VMware Tools status and functionality: After installation, reboot your virtual machine. Then, run vmware-toolbox-cmd -v to confirm the installation.

When installing VMware Tools on Ubuntu, common errors may occur, such as missing ISO files, outdated kernel, insufficient disk space, dependency conflicts, and using incompatible versions. Ensuring proper ISO mounting, updating the kernel, freeing disk space, resolving dependencies, and matching versions will help avoid these issues and optimize virtual machine performance.

Explore the guide below to learn the step-by-step instructions to install VMware tools on Ubuntu and common errors that can occur during the installation.

Virtualization has revolutionized the way you use computers, allowing you to run multiple operating systems on a single physical machine. VMware Tools play a crucial role in this process by enhancing the performance and functionality of virtual machines. VMware Tools are a set of utilities and drivers that enhance the interaction between the host hypervisor and the guest virtual machine. They facilitate smoother communication, better hardware support, and optimized performance. In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the steps to install VMware Tools on Ubuntu and common errors that can occur, and their possible solutions.

How to Install VMware Tools on Ubuntu

To install VMware Tools on Debian, ensure that your system meets the following requirements: use a supported Debian version, have essential package dependencies like build-essential and kernel headers installed, sufficient disk space for extraction, internet connectivity to install Open VM Tools, and administrative privileges (root or sudo access). Follow these steps:

  1. Open your Terminal window.
opening terminal 36
  1. Update the package lists and metadata from the repositories by running:
<strong>sudo apt update</strong>
  1. This command fetches the latest information about available packages and their versions from the configured repositories.
updating system package list 16
  1. Upgrade the installed packages to their latest available versions by executing:
<strong>sudo apt upgrade</strong>
  1. This command installs the latest updates and security patches for the installed packages on your system.
upgrading packages to the latest version 1
  1. To install Open VM Tools, execute the following command in the Terminal:
<strong>sudo apt install open-vm-tools</strong>
  1. After the installation is complete, reboot your virtual machine to ensure that all components are loaded correctly.
installing vm tools on ubuntu
  1. Run the following command to verify the status of VMware Tools in your Ubuntu virtual machine:
<strong>vmware-toolbox-cmd -v</strong>
  1. The command will show the VMware tools version.
verifying installation of vmware tools

5 Common Errors When Installing VMware Tools on Ubuntu

Installing VMware tools on Ubuntu is a simple process, but encountering errors is not uncommon. Avoiding these common errors will help you optimize your virtual machine’s performance and unlock the full benefits of VMware Tools. Here are five common errors that you may encounter:

  • ❗️ VMware Tools Not Found: One of the most encountered errors is the failure to locate the VMware Tools ISO file during the installation process. This issue often arises when the virtual machine’s CD/DVD drive is not connected, or the VMware Tools package is missing from the host. To resolve this, ensure that the VMware Tools ISO is mounted correctly and accessible in your virtual machine. Double-check the VMware hypervisor settings to ensure it is configured to present the ISO to the virtual machine.
  • ⚠️ Outdated Linux Kernel: Incompatibility issues arise when attempting to install VMware Tools on an Ubuntu virtual machine with an outdated Linux kernel. VMware Tools may fail to build kernel modules, leading to incomplete functionality. Always keep your Ubuntu system up to date with the latest kernel using the sudo apt update and sudo apt upgrade commands before attempting the installation. Additionally, check the VMware compatibility matrix to verify the supported kernel versions for your VMware product.
  • 💾 Insufficient Disk Space: Running out of disk space during the installation can halt the VMware Tools setup. VMware Tools require adequate space for extraction and installation. To avoid this error, ensure that your virtual machine has enough free space by removing unnecessary files or expanding the virtual disk size if needed. Check the available disk space using df -h command before initiating the installation process.
  • 🔄 Dependency Issues: Occasionally, dependency problems may arise during VMware Tools installation on Ubuntu, causing conflicts with existing packages. To resolve this, identify the conflicting dependencies using package managers like apt or dpkg and resolve them before proceeding with the installation. Use the apt-cache policy package-name command to check the package dependencies and versions.
  • Incompatible VMware Tools Version: Installing an incompatible version of VMware Tools may result in errors or reduced functionality. Always match the VMware Tools version with the installed VMware hypervisor version to ensure compatibility and a seamless installation process. Refer to the official VMware documentation for the correct version compatibility information. Avoid using generic VMware Tools from open-source repositories, as they might not be optimized for your specific VMware product.

In Conclusion

I hope this guide has been informative and valuable in helping you understand the significance of VMware Tools for optimizing your virtual machine’s performance on Ubuntu. By following the step-by-step guide to install VMware Tools and being aware of common errors that may occur, you can now enhance your virtualization experience and enjoy the benefits of improved graphics, seamless integration, and better networking.

If you’re eager to explore more about virtual machine management, consider reading other articles on Best Practices for Virtual Machine Management, Advanced VMware Configurations for High-Performance Workloads, and Cutting-Edge Virtualization Technologies. Remember, continuous learning and staying informed about the latest advancements in virtualization technology will empower you to make the most out of VMware Tools and elevate your virteed with the reboot to guarantee that the virtual machine operates optimally with all the new fual infrastructure to new heights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does VMware Tools Require a Reboot After Installation?

Generally, VMware Tools installation on Ubuntu does not necessitate a reboot of the virtual machine. After the installation process is complete, users can immediately start benefiting from the enhanced features provided by VMware Tools without the need for a reboot. However, certain specific updates or configurations may require a reboot to ensure that all changes take full effect. If prompted to reboot during the installation process or after specific updates, it is recommended to procunctionalities provided by VMware Tools

How do VMware Tools impact CPU and memory utilization?

VMware Tools are specifically designed to be lightweight and optimized for minimal resource consumption. Consequently, their impact on CPU and memory utilization is generally negligible. The tools are developed to work efficiently with the underlying virtualization layer, ensuring that they consume only a small fraction of the system’s resources. By employing techniques like shared memory, optimized drivers, and intelligent scheduling, VMware Tools prioritize the virtual machine’s performance while keeping CPU and memory usage at an optimal level. As a result, you can experience enhanced virtual machine performance without significant overhead on the host system.

Is it necessary to uninstall previous versions of VMware Tools before updating?

In most cases, updating VMware Tools involves an automatic replacement of the older version with the latest one. This process ensures a smooth transition to the updated version without manually uninstalling the previous iteration. However, to avoid any potential conflicts or issues during the update, it is advisable to uninstall the existing VMware Tools before installing the new version. This extra step guarantees a clean installation and helps eliminate any remnants of the previous version that may interfere with the new version’s functionality, ultimately ensuring a more seamless update process.

Can I revert to a previous version of VMware Tools if an update causes issues?

Yes, you can easily revert to a previous version of VMware Tools if an update causes unexpected issues or disrupts the virtual machine’s functionality. VMware’s snapshot feature comes to the rescue in such situations. Before initiating any update, take a snapshot of the virtual machine in its current state. Should any problems arise after the update, simply revert the virtual machine to the snapshot taken before the update. This will restore the virtual machine to a stable and known working state, effectively undoing the update and resolving any associated issues.

Does VMware Tools affect the virtual machine’s security posture?

Yes, VMware Tools play a role in enhancing the virtual machine’s security posture. One critical security aspect provided by VMware Tools is time synchronization. Accurate system time is crucial for secure network communication and security certificates’ validity. VMware Tools ensure that the virtual machine’s time remains in sync with the host system, reducing the risk of time-related security issues. Additionally, other VMware Tools features, such as improved mouse integration and shared folders, aid in creating a seamless and secure user experience within the virtual machine environment.



Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.



Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, he’s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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