How to Install VM Tools in Linux Operating System Step by Step

You can manually install VMware Tools on a Linux virtual machine using the command line. This article will describe how to install VM tools in Linux.


By Crystal / Updated on March 8, 2023

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VMware Tools in Linux virtual machine

VMware Tools is a suite of utilities that helps a VMware virtual machine (VM) integrate nicely with VMware hypervisor. Although the guest operating system can run without VMware Tools, you lose important functionality and convenience such as:

  • Passes messages from the host operating system to the guest operating system.
  • Executes commands in the operating system to cleanly shut down or restart a Linux, FreeBSD, or Solaris system when you select power operations in Workstation.
  • Synchronizes the time in the guest operating system with the time in the host operating system.
  • Runs scripts that help automate guest operating system operations. The scripts run when the virtual machine’s power state changes.

How to install VM tools in Linux Step by Step

Before editing the VM, export VM from ESXi as OVF template. Should any issues arise, you can restore your VM from this template.

To install VMware tools on a Linux server, right-click the appropriate server in your vSphere client, then click Guest >> Install/Upgrade VMware Tools.

1. Select the menu command to mount the VMware Tools virtual disk on the guest operating system.


2. In the virtual machine, open a terminal window. Run the mount command with no arguments to determine whether your Linux distribution automatically mounted the VMware Tools virtual CD-ROM image.

If the CD-ROM device is mounted, the CD-ROM device and its mount point are listed in a manner similar to the following output:

/dev/cdrom on /mnt/cdrom type iso9660 (ro,nosuid,nodev)

If the VMware Tools virtual CD-ROM image is not mounted, mount the CD-ROM drive.

  • If a mount point directory does not already exist, create a mount point using this command.
mkdir /mnt/cdrom

Some Linux distributions use different mount point names. For example, on some distributions the mount point is /media/VMware Tools rather than /mnt/cdrom. Modify the command to reflect the conventions that your distribution uses.

  • Mount the CD-ROM drive.
mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

Some Linux distributions use different device names or organize the /dev directory differently. If your CD-ROM drive is not /dev/cdrom or if the mount point for a CD-ROM is not /mnt/cdrom, modify the command to reflect the conventions that your distribution uses.

3. Change to a working directory, for example, /tmp and extract the tar file into this /tmp folder.

cd /tmp

4. Delete any previous vmware-tools-distrib directory before you install VMware Tools.

The location of this directory depends on where you placed it during the previous installation. Often this directory is placed in /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib.

List the contents of the mount point directory and note the file name of the VMware Tools tar installer.

ls mount-point

Uncompress the installer.

tar zxpf /mnt/cdrom/VMwareTools-x.x.x-yyyy.tar.gz

Note: The value x.x.x is the product version number, and yyyy is the build number of the product release.

5. If necessary, unmount the CD-ROM image.

umount /dev/cdrom

If your Linux distribution automatically mounted the CD-ROM, you do not need to unmount the image.

6. Run the installer and configure VMware Tools as a root user

cd vmware-tools-distrib
sudo ./

Follow the prompts to accept the default values, if appropriate for your configuration.

Usually, the configuration file runs after the installer file finishes running. If you attempt to install a tar installation over an RPM installation, or the reverse, the installer detects the previous installation and must convert the installer database format before continuing.

Note: For newer Linux distributions, users are prompted to choose the integrated open-vm-tools. Open VM Tools is the VMware recommend way of installing VMware tools on Ubuntu/Debian virtual machines.

During the installation process, you should make a backup for Linux VM before installing VMware Tools on Linux.

VMware backup software for Linux – AOMEI Cyber Backup

If you are looking for a suitable VMware backup software for your Linux environment, you may find that, unlike Windows, there are still much backup software that do not support Linux

Fortunately, a free VMware backup software AOMEI Cyber Backup focuses on enhancing the customer experience and has made changes to this situation. Now, except for Windows, you can also install and run AOMEI Cyber Backup on Linux environment and use it to back up your VMware ESXi VMs.

For Linux, AOMEI Cyber Backup supports:

  • Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS
  • Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS
  • Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS
  • Ubuntu 20.04.4 LTS

AOMEI Cyber Backup allows you to create complete and independent image-level backups for VMs on both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi and Hyper-V, without installing an agent on the host and the guest machines. It also provides an intuitive GUI operating interface and simplifies the backup process into 3 easy steps. With simple clicks, you can create a complete backup task that covers multiple VMs, and with a highly customized backup schedule that runs automatically. For Linux, the Root Account of the Super Administrator on Linux are supported.

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system. Next, I will show you how to backup VMware VMs with AOMEI Cyber Backup. You can click the following button to download the freeware.

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

Step 1. Install AOMEI Cyber Backup on Linux

1. Unzip the AOMEI Cyber Backup folder with root privileges through the following command.

tar -zxvf AOMEICyberBackupTrial.tar.gz

2. Install AOMEI Cyber Backup with root privileges, run the command:


Or you can also open the AOMEI Cyber Backup folder and execute following command to install.


Step 2. Backup VMware ESXi VMs with AOMEI Cyber Backup

1. Bind Devices: Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, navigate to Source Device >> VMware >> Add VMware Device to Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi. And then click  >> Bind Device.

add vmware esxi

2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task >> Create New Task, and then set Task NameBackup TypeDeviceTarget, and Schedule.

  • Device: cover multiple VMs on the host within one backup task.
  • Target: select to back up to a local path, or to a network path.
  • Schedule: choose to perform full, differential or incremental backup, and automate execution according to the frequency you specified.

backup linux vm

3. Run Backup: Now you can click Start Backup and select Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.

✍ Created backup tasks will be listed and monitored separately, for restoring, progress checking and schedule changing. To restore the virtual machine in case of disaster, click Backup Management >> History Versions, and specify a VM, you can see all restore points of this VM are clearly listed on the left. It makes you easier to restore entire VM to any restore point you want.

restore vm


VMware tools help in managing the guest OS efficiently while also improving its performance. To install VM tools in Linux virtual machines, it requires a few extra steps compared to Windows. Meanwhile, an efficient Linux backup software is necessary before installation.

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.