How to install VMware Tools on Ubuntu or Debian VM

The following post will walk you through how to isntall VMware Tools on Ubuntu or Debian virtual machine (VM). I assume that you have created your VM on VMware Player.

You first need to power on the VM on which you want to install VMware Tools. Once the VM is on, check if CD-ROM is connected to your VM, and if so, disconnect it from the VM. Then, go to "Virtual Machine" -> "Install VMware Tools" on VMware Player menu interface. VMware Player will then download an iso image of VMware tools, and make it mounted to the VM as its CD-ROM. Now reboot the VM.

I recommend doing the rest of the installation procedure as root, rather than using sudo. Using sudo, installation procedure may fail as environment variables may not be set up properly.

Installing VMware Tools involves building new kernel modules, and therefore you need to prepare build environment for kernel module compilation.

$ apt-get install build-essential
$ apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`

Now extract the source code of VMware Tools from the CD-ROM's mount point. Note that the default path for mounted CD-ROM might be different across different distros. On Ubuntu 12.04, it's as follows.

$ tar xvfvz /media/cdrom/VMwareTools-8.8.4-743747.tar.gz

Finally, simply run contained in VMware Tools distribution.

$ cd vmware-tools-distrib
$ ./

While running, the installation script will ask you a series of questions. If you are not sure, you can accept all default answers.

Once all necessary configurations and builds are completed, a new initrd image will be created. Reboot the VM to finalize VMware Tools installation.

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Dan Nanni is the founder and also a regular contributor of He is a Linux/FOSS enthusiast who loves to get his hands dirty with his Linux box. He likes to procrastinate when he is supposed to be busy and productive. When he is otherwise free, he likes to watch movies and shop for the coolest gadgets.

5 thoughts on “How to install VMware Tools on Ubuntu or Debian VM

  1. Hello,
    it is my first try with this type of environment so sorry if this is a stupid question: I followed your advice and I get a popup:

    A certificate error occurred for the update server. Check your Internet settings or contact your system administrator.
    Could you give me a suggestion on the type of problem behind this message? Do I miss something in my install?


    • Is your computer by any chance behind a proxy server? Then it can cause this kind of problem as your VMware Player tries to access the update server directly.

      Go to Player preferences menu of your VMware Player, and add your proxy info.

      Or, edit the VMware Player's preference file manually as follows.
      $ vi ~/.vmware/preferences
      pref.downloadProxy = "http://your_proxy:proxy_port/"

  2. These directions are out of date for Vmplayer 6 because when you disconnect the CD then try to install VMTools, VMplayer complains that you don't have CD connected. The Vmplayer 6 cannot download an ISO nor can it connect to the Vmware tools website, as the website has no files available. Will continue looking for some valid instructions to make it work.

  3. You said to issue command "$ apt-get install build-essentials", but that will always fail. You added am erroneous 's' to the end. the correct command is '$ apt-get install build-essential'

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