What are the VMware Tools?

I’ve been going through the foundation topics and these are my notes on virtual machine tools – VMware Tools.

What they are, why you need them, and where to get them.

As we know all too well, a virtual machine without the VMware tools installed, is all but unusable. The mouse jumps around, the video’s about the size of a post card, and the network card’s messed up.

If you’re like me, you learned fast, that the fix was of course, to install the VMware tools.

Poof problem solved right. Well, how about a little bit of the why.


Scott Bollinger / kfalconspb / www.bollingerusa.com

VMware Tools

VMware tools is a suite of software, that consists of tools, drivers, and utilities, which enable the guest operating system of a virtual machine to recognize virtual hardware, optimize performance, and enable communication with the hypervisor.[1]


VM’s freaking out

Some of symptoms you’ll see when VMware Tools hasn’t been installed are:[1]

  • Mouse movement is not synced and acts radically
  • Resolution and color are lower than expected or than the hardware supports
  • Basic device driver operations are impaired, such as the sound or the speed of the network or storage card
  • Hypervisor/Guest interaction and control, for example, quiesced snapshots or time synchronization

Gimme Gimme

VMware Tools are generally included on all the VMware product ISO’s and are also downloadable directly from MyVMware.

Some operating systems, such are legacy Linux distributions required special purpose built packages for the particular OS’s/Versions. They are called Operating System Specific Packages.[2]


There is also the open source implementation of VM Tools call the Open VM tools (OVT) that can be installed and updated along with other Linux packages. Package Managers/apt-get etc.


Installation varies by OS and Version. See OS specific install instructions.


  1. Overview of VMware Tools
  2. VMware Tools Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs)


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