How to Install VMware Tools on Virtual Machine [2 Ways]

If you want to ensure a stable and high-performing virtual environment, VMware Tools is exactly what you need. In this article, I will introduce 2 ways of how to install VMware Tools on virtual machine and update VMware Tools on ESXi host.


By Crystal / Updated on March 8, 2023

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What are VMware Tools

If you want to better manage your virtual machines, if you want to enjoy the ability to take quiesced snapshots of the guest operating system, the enhanced graphics and mouse performance, or the better memory management, you cannot go wrong with VMware Tools.

VMware Tools is a set of services and modules that enable several features in VMware products for better management of, and seamless user interactions with, guests operating systems.

VMware Tools

Now VMware Tools has been decoupled from the release of VMware ESXi, new VMware tools versions are no longer released with new versions of ESXi. In this article, I will introduce on Windows-based machines, 2 ways of how to install VMware Tools on virtual machine, and update VMware Tools on ESXi host.

Before you start, please always remember to perform virtual machine backup before any risky operations.

VMware Tools abilities

VMware Tools has the ability to:

  • Pass messages from the host operating system to the guest operating system.
  • Customize guest operating systems as a part of the vCenter Server and other VMware products.
  • Run scripts that help automate guest operating system operations. The scripts run when the power state of the virtual machine changes.
  • Synchronize the time in the guest operating system with the time on the host operating system.

Way 1. How to install VMware Tools on virtual machine via web client

Note: Before you start, please note that the virtual machine must be installed with a guest operating system.

1. Access VMware vSphere web client, and power on the target virtual machine.

2. Right-click on the name of the target virtual machine, and select Guest OS > Install VMware Tools.

Install VMware Tools

Note: You can also click Upgrade VMware Tools to upgrade VMware Tools on the guest virtual machine. But before that you may need to update VMware Tools on ESXi host by manually downloading and installing the new version of VMware Tools.

3. Open the browser console of this virtual machine, and open File Explorer on the guest operating system. Double-click the CD-ROM in Devices and drives to start the VMware Tools installer.

VMware Tools CD-ROM

4. Follow the VMware Tools Setup. Select a setup type and click Next to continue.

  • Typical: suitable for most ESXi use cases and should be selected as the default.
  • Complete: Suitable in highly heterogeneous environments.
  • Custom: Use it to install specific components such as Guest Introspection Thin Agent driver, App Defense or vShield. You may also want to remove some features in non-standard environments.

Choose VMware Tools setup type

5. Click Install to begin the installation. And click Finish when it is complete.

Ready to install VMware Tools

6. There will be a window inform you to restart your system for the configuration changes made to VMware Tools to take effect. Click Yes and you have successfully installed VMware Tools.

Restart system alert

Way 2. How to install VMware Tools from command line

1. Download the target version of VMware Tools package from the official website to a created folder.

For example, download the 32-bit VMware Tools package: VMware-tools-x.y.z-i386.exe, or the 64-bit VMware Tools package: VMware-tools-x.y.z-x86_64.exe to a folder created at C:\Downloads.

Download VMware Tools package

2. Open an Elevated Command Prompt by Right-Clicking on Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator.

3. Navigate to the target folder, and run the command to install VMware Tools:

setup.exe /S /v "/ qn REBOOT=R ADDLOCAL=ALL"

For example, if you download the 32-bit VMware Tools package, run the following command:

VMware-tools-x.y.z-i386.exe /S /v"/qn REBOOT=R ADDLOCAL=ALL"

If you download the 64-bit VMware Tools package, run the command:

VMware-tools-x.y.z-x86_64.exe /S /v"/qn REBOOT=R ADDLOCAL=ALL"

Install VMware Tools from command line

32-bit VMware Tools package silent uninstall command:
VMware-tools-x.y.z-i386.exe /S /v"/qn REBOOT=R REMOVE=ALL"
64-bit VMware Tools package silent uninstall command:
VMware-tools-x.y.z-x86_64.exe /S /v"/qn REBOOT=R REMOVE=ALL"

How to manually update VMware Tools on ESXi host

Upgrading VMware Tools on a guest virtual machine is easy, but before that, you may need to manually download the latest VMware Tools package and replace the old VMware Tools with the new ones. Here are the steps.

1. Download the latest VMware Tools package from the official website.

2. Access to the ESXi host, extract the content of the package and transfer the VMware Tools files to the folder where the VMware Tools are stored on ESXi.

For example, on ESXi 6.5, the VMware Tools files are located under /vmimages/tools-isoimages or /productlocker.

VMware Tools folder on ESXi

3. Verify if ESXi does replaced the old VMware Tools files with new files and if you have successfully update VMware Tools on ESXi host. And then you can upgrade the VMware Tools on your specific guest VMs.

Check and upgrade VMware Tools before each power on

Backup VMware VMs regularly to prevent data loss (free solution)

Once VMware Tools is installed, you can start using the virtual machine normally. But in the meantime, please don't forget to back up your virtual machines regularly if you don't want to lose your virtual machine data in accidental errors or corruptions.

if you use the free VMware ESXi without vCenter Server, your options for VM backup and restore may be limited by not supporting vStorage APIs. However, even the vCenter Server does not provide the virtual machine backup feature. And that makes backup software a commonly accepted choice.

Here I introduce you to a free VMware backup software -- AOMEI Cyber Backup. It offers you the following benefits.

Agentless Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs.
 Support Free ESXi: support both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi.
Multiple Storage Destinations: backup to local or network share destinations.
Automated Execution: create backup schedules to automate virtual machine protection.
Perpetual Free: you can use AOMEI Cyber Backup Free Edition with no time limit.

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions. And it simplifies the process of virtual machine backup into 3 simple steps. You can click the following button to download the freeware.

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

Start Backup


VMware Tools is essential to ensure a stable and high-performing virtual environment. If you upgrade your ESXi host, for example, ESXi upgrade 6.7 to 7.0, you would better upgrade VMware Tools on guest virtual machines, too.

In this article, I introduced how to install VMware Tools on virtual machine, and update VMware Tools on ESXi host. Hope it could be helpful to you.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.