How do I install or repair VMware Tools for Linux?

There are two likely reasons why VMware Tools may not be starting in your VM:

1. You may have performed a kernel upgrade and need to reinstall the VMware Tools kernel modules. 

To resolve this you should only need to run:

# /usr/bin/vmware-config-tools.pl

and follow the on-screen prompts.

or

2. You have installed a fresh OS and have none of the tools files installed on your VM, and/or you need to manually upgrade to a newer version of Tools.

If this is the case you should mount the VMware Tools ISO from the WMS console (using the Install Tools icon in the Toolkit).

Note 1: The Tools ISO does not appear as a mounted ISO in the WMS console, as it is handled differently from OS ISOs. When you mount the Tools ISO, a new info section will appear in the right hand pane, showing the status of your Tools install.

Note 2: If you currently have another ISO mounted inside your OS, Linux may lock the virtual CD drive which prevents the Tools ISO from being mounted.  This can be avoided by unmounting the existing ISO from inside your OS.

Depending on the kernel you're running, tools may need to compile kernel modules when it completes installing. You will need to have a C compiler installed as well as headers appropriate for your running kernel.  If you don't have these, a quick way to get them installed is:

DEBIAN / UBUNTU
# apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r) build-essential

CENTOS
# yum groupinstall "Development Tools"
# yum install kernel-headers.*

You'll first need to extract and install the VMware Tools software.

As root, do the following:

# mkdir tools
# mount /dev/cdrom tools
# cp tools/VMwareTools* .
# tar zxf VMwareTools*
# cd vmware-tools-distrib
# ./vmware-install.pl

Follow through the installer and accept the default paths for each component. At the end of the install you will be asked if you want to run vmware-config-tools.pl.  Answer yes to this, or run it yourself by typing:

# /usr/bin/vmware-config-tools.pl

Ensure that for every stage of the Tools config that each kernel module is reported to load correctly.

*** Note: For 32bit OSes, the installer may tell you to reinstall the networking module, and list the steps to do so. For convenience, they are:

# rmmod pcnet32
# rmmod vmxnet
# modprobe vmxnet
# /etc/init.d/networking restart

You may want to restart your VM to ensure all the tools modules load correctly, although this is not necessary.

Tip: If you've installed your own Linux OS from an ISO you may also want to read up on disabling terminal blanking.

Tip: Some linux distros have been known to occasionally kernel panic on boot.  Follow the steps in this FAQ to ensure it doesn't happen to you.

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