Install VMware Tools on Ubuntu [Easiest Way]

Installing VMware tools on Ubuntu is a simple process. You will have to install VMware tools on Ubuntu if you are struggling to enable the shared folder feature or are unable to copy-paste between your host and Ubuntu virtual machine.

Install VMware Tools on Ubuntu

In this tutorial, we have discussed two methods to install VMware tools on Ubuntu.


Why VMware Tools?

VMware Tools isn’t just another add-on; it’s essential for the proper working of the VM. Think of it as the key to unlocking advanced functionalities and optimizing your Ubuntu virtual machine’s performance.

Without it, you’re missing out on features like shared folders, better graphics support, and enhanced mouse and keyboard integration.

If you haven’t created a Virtual Machine using a VMware workstation, check this article.

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

Method 1: Via open-vm-tools Package

Step 1: Launch Ubuntu and Update

Fire up your Ubuntu VM and ensure you have an active internet connection. Open the terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and start by updating your system’s repositories:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

This command ensures you have the latest package information and upgrades any outdated packages on your Ubuntu.

Step 2: Install VMware Tools Package

In the terminal, type the below command to install the required package for VMware tools if you are using Ubuntu Desktop.

sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools-desktop

If you are using Ubuntu Server mode (no GUI), you can use the below command:

sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools

Step 3: Reboot the Virtual machine

Once, you have installed the package, just reboot the machine. You can use any one of the below commands:

sudo reboot
sudo shutdown -r now

Method 2: Via VMware GUI

Step 1: Mount VMware Tools

In the VMware Workstation menu, navigate to “VM” > “Install VMware Tools.” This action mounts the VMware Tools installer to your Ubuntu VM.

Step 2: Extract and Install VMware Tools

Locate the mounted VMware Tools installer (usually in the /media directory) and extract the contents to a local directory:

tar -xzf /media/<username>/VMwareTools*.tar.gz -C /tmp/

If you are installing VMware tools on an Ubuntu Server, then you will have to mount the CD-ROM manually using the below command:

sudo mkdir /mnt/cdrom
sudo mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom 
sudo mount /dev/sr0 /mnt/cdrom

Access the extracted directory and initiate the installation:

cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/
sudo ./

Follow the prompts during the installation process, accepting the defaults by pressing Enter unless you have specific preferences.

Step 5: Reboot Your System

Once the installation completes, it’s time to reboot your Ubuntu VM to ensure all changes take effect:

sudo reboot
sudo shutdown -r now

Verifying VMware Tools Installation

Once the package is installed and the VM is rebooted in Method 1, or you have run the script following Method 2, confirm if VMware Tools is properly installed and running.

Open a terminal and enter:

$ vmware-toolbox-cmd -v

# output
ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ vmware-toolbox-cmd -v (build-22234872)

If the installation was successful, you should see the VMware Tools version displayed in the terminal.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed VMware Tools on your Ubuntu VM. Your problems related to VMware tools should be fixed now.

In our opinion, Method 1 is the easiest way to install these tools and it will also solve the problem of “Install VMware Tools” grayed out in case you are facing it.

If you are facing any issues with the installation or other functionality is not working, let us know through your comments.

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