How to install VMware tools

The VMware Tools package adds drivers and utilities to improve the graphics performance of different guest operating systems, including mouse tracking. The package also supports certain integrations between the guest system and the host system, including shared folders, plug and play devices, clock synchronization, and cut and paste across environments.

This tutorial has been tested on the following Linux distributions:

Debian Linux 9 (Extended)
Debian Linux 8 (Jesse)
Debian Linux 7 (Wheezy)

Last updated:
March 27, 2018

Please note that VMware recommends using open-vm-tools instead of the VMware tools outlined in this article. The benefits of using open-vm-tools include improved stability, as the package is optimized for each distribution and automatically updates a smaller footprint.

You can find a tutorial on installing open-vm-tools in the Debian tutorial: How to install open-vm-tools (Open Virtual Machine Tools)

1. Install the kernel header files and tools required to compile and install VMware tools:

apt-get install binutils cpp gcc make psmisc linux-headers-$(uname -r)

2. Install the cdrom drive inside the guest server. Before proceeding, make sure that the VMware Tools virtual CD is installed from the host.

mount /dev/cdrom /mnt

3. Extract the VMware tools into the tmp directory:

tar -C /tmp -zxvf /mnt/VMwareTools-x.x.x-x.tar.gz

The file name depends on the VMware host version.

4. We have extracted the files to a temporary location and no longer need a virtual disk. Unmount the virtual CD:

umount /mnt

5. Start the installation:


Accept the default settings for each question.

6. Restart the server


VMware tools are now installed and configured.

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