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Install VMWare Tools on a Linux Guest Virtual Machine

VMWare Workstation and the various flavours of VMWare Server allow you to install a package called "VMWare Tools". These VMWare Tools contain various methods of communication between the guest virtual machine and the host and in general should make the guest VM run better. This post looks at how to install VMWare Tools on a Linux guest machine, specifically on a CentOS guest (and therefore should be the same for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora and their derivatives).

To install VMWare Tools on a guest virtual machine, select "Tools" from the VMWare Server or VMWare Workstation GUI menu, and then "Install VMWare Tools". This doesn’t actually appear to do anything in the guest machine (whereas on a Windows machine it will automatically start up a GUI installer to install the tools). All it really does is to connect the virtual CD-ROM device to the appropriate CD image containing the tools for your virtual machine.

Open up a command prompt, and then enter the following command to mount the virtual CD:

mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

The virtual CD contains an RPM package and a TAR package which you can use to install. On Fedora/Red Hat and derivative Linux distributions you can install from the RPM version by running the following command either as root or using the sudo command:

rpm -ivh VMwareTools-6.0.2-59824.i386.rpm

For non-rpm based distributions, do the following instead, again running the actual install command either as root or using sudo:

cd /tmp
tar -zxf /media/cdrom/VMwareTools-6.0.2-59824.tar.gz

and follow the instructions issued by the install application.

Once you are done, you’ll want to unmount the virtual CD as follows:

umount /dev/cdrom

and start VMWare Tools:

/etc/init.d/vmware-tools start

On CentOS, Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux and their derivitives, you can then call the "chkconfig" command to automatically have vmware tools run on system startup like so:

/sbin/chkconfig vmware-tools on

Other Linux distros have their own methods for starting init scripts automatically. Simply issue the appropriate command for your distro and VMWare Tools will automatically start on system startup.