I routinely google this task whenever I have to install or upgrade the VMware Tools on a Linux VM guest. I figure I would make a post for future reference.

Ingredients used for this post:

  • VMware ESX Server 4.0
  • Ubuntu Server 9.10


  1. Use the vSphere Client to connect to a vCenter Server or directly to an ESX host.

  2. Right-click the virtual machine and select Open Console.

  3. Log into Ubuntu with an administrative account.

  4. From the Virtual Machines tab, right-click the Linux VM → GuestInstall/Upgrade VMware Tools.

VMware Tools
  1. Create a root login shell for the Ubuntu VM.
sudo -i
  1. Update and install the prerequisite packages.
apt-get update
apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r) psmisc
  1. Mount the virtual CD drive and change to the directory.
mount /media/cdrom && cd $_
  1. Extract the compressed file to the /tmp directory, and then cd to it.
tar xf VMwareTools-*.tar.gz -C /tmp
cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib
  1. Launch the vmware-install.pl script with the default option.
./vmware-install.pl -d
  1. Remove the temporary installation.
cd && rm -rf /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib
  1. Unmount the virtual CD drive.
umount /media/cdrom


You will need to reinitialize the VMware toolset after every kernel upgrade.