Installation of VMware Tools (only for virtual machines)
Includes important info about common installation problems & solutions
Note: This is a good exercise! You should read
through, at the very least.
For more detailed instructions, please refer to the official Installing VMware Tools how-to, as well as
the VMware/Tools Community Ubuntu Documentation.
In the File Menu of the VMware Server, choose
VM > Install VMware Tools, OK the warning
message. This will mount a virtual CD-ROM drive
containing the VMware Tools binaries.
The virtual CD-ROM contains two files - one with the extension .rpm
other with .tar.gz
. The .rpm stands for RedHat Package
and is suitable for RedHat-based distributions. Since Linux Mint is Debian
-based, this type of file is not suitable for us (instantly). Nevertheless, even if it
were, we want to use the archive (.tar.gz.).
First, we need to extract
it. This can be done via command line, as I have
demonstrated in my Highly useful Linux commands & configurations
but we'll do it using the GUI.
on the file > Extract-To...
Choose a destination
After the archive has been extracted, we need to actually install
. This must be done using the command line
. First, we need
. The shortcut to Terminal can be
easily found in the Menu
, under System
Once we hit the command line, we need to navigate to the directory
VMware Tools files. In the relevant directory, we need to locally execute
(wizard). This can be done using the following command.
See below in the image; notice the geeky fortune.
The script is very simple and friendly. It asks questions, with default answers
already selected. You will merely need to hit Enter
several times - although you
should read each step carefully
After several steps, you'll hit a snag. But don't worry, I led you there deliberately. The purpose of this step
is to show you that even when your installation supposedly fails, the workaround is simple and fast.
The reason you see the error below is because the default Linux Mint installation does not come with all the
packages needed for compilation of sources
. We will install the missing
packages and then repeat the installation of VMware Tools.
If you read carefully, you'll notice that the installer even tells you which packages are missing - gcc
- and where
them, on the installation CD
. This means that even if you
don't have a working Internet connection, you'll be able to obtain them.
This is extremely
important because in a real life situation, the missing modules
might be the network adapters, for example. Luckily, you would have the sources on the CDs that came with your
hardware. But your compilation would fail, for the same reason the installation of VMware Tools failed. Without a
working Internet connection, you would not be able to find the sources using the Synaptic Package Manager. If
they were not included on the CD, you would have been stuck.
The missing tools can be found and installed using either the command line or the GUI. I'll show you both ways.
First, we will launch Synaptic
(System > Package
Next, we will search
for the missing packages and mark
them for installation. After you find the right packages, right-click > Mark for installation
After all the packages are installed successfully, start the installation of VMware Tools again
. This time, you should get no error messages and it should work.
You can simply restart the X session
(Ctrl + Alt +
) and the network service
) for the relevant changes to take effect. Or if you feel uncomfortable, you
can simply reboot the machine.
It is important to remember that the VMware Tools offer you to change the resolution
. This is what we aimed for, among other things. Indeed, after you restart, you
should enjoy the normal-sized desktop. Don't mind the lack of the bottom panel, I took the screenshot while the
desktop was loading.
Now, we could have also installed all of the missing packages (gcc, binutils, make, kernel sources) with one
simple command in the Terminal:
sudo apt-get install build-essential
See in the image below:
This comes to show that the command line is often simpler and faster - and should not be feared! Lastly, you
might want to setup the VMware Toolbox
. This toolbox allows you to synchronize
time, the clipboard and the mouse movement between the host and the guest. It will not run by default. You can
manually invoke it - or add it to auto-start with the session
Manually, just type in Terminal:
Alternatively, add the VMware Toolbox to your session. Click on Menu > Preferences >
Under Startup Programs
tab, you can see all the programs currently listed and
enabled for all sessions. This is what we need. You can also configure your Current
and general Session Options
, but that's another subject.
to create a new Startup Program
Now, give the new entry a Name
(e.g. VMware Toolbox), the Command
(path to command) and an optional Comment
, which can help
you (or others) understand what the program does.
The path to VMware Toolbox is /usr/bin/vmware-toolbox
- unless you specified a
different path during the installation.
Now, once you restart the machine or manually run the Toolbox, you will see the VMware
window come up, with all the relevant options that can be setup. In order to enjoy the
extras, you must keep the VMware Toolbox running
(most likely minimized
). Scripts and Shrink require root permissions.
Now, we're happy. So let's power up a browser and surf a bit.
You will notice that you cannot scroll up and down with the middle-mouse
This is because the default VMware Tools installation configures the mouse device as a classic three-button mouse
that does not have the scrollable middle mouse button. Let's change that.
Again, here's a good exercise in configuring system files and overcoming common installation problems. We will
edit the configuration file for X Server - xorg.conf
, which controls all aspects of
the display - monitor, graphical drivers, mouse, and keyboard.
sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
In the file, look for Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Under Option "Protocol"
change whatever is written to "ExplorerPS/2"
. Save and exit. Restart the X session for the changes to take effect (Ctrl + Alt
And that's it! We have the VMware Tools fully configured and all the installation bugs ironed. This is a very
good exercise, because it shows us how to:
- Not panic.
- Successfully perform a guided text installation from an archive.
- Troubleshoot compilation and installation problems.
- Troubleshoot post-installation problems.
- Edit system configuration files.
- Add new startup programs.
- Tweak the resolution and mouse settings.
- Use both the GUI and the command line to achieve desired results.
- Use the Package Manager to search and install packages.
Now, let's move on to the next page for some more post-installation fun.