Installing VMware Tools with VMware Player

As other sites have demonstrated, it is possible to create a VMware disk image using free tools and install a full-fledged virtual operating system using the free VMware Player. However, VMware Player does not provide VMware Tools, a set of programs that considerably improve VMware performance.

The following procedure shows how to install the VMware Tools image from the VMware Workstation "bundle" (basically, a self-extracting shell script that contains all files needed for the installation). In this example, my guest system is Windows XP Professional, and my host system is Ubuntu 8.10 and VMware Player 2.5.

Note that this process has changed with VMware Player 2.5/VMware Workstation 6.5. The latest ".tar.gz" version of VMware Workstation, 6.0.x, does not contain a recent enough version of VMware Tools to use "unity view" within VMware Player 2.5.

Is it legal to do this? According to this thread, yes.

1. First, I installed the VMware Player 2.5 "bundle" for Linux.

$ sudo sh VMware-Player-2.5.0-118166.i386.bundle

Installation of VMware Player 2.5 provides /usr/lib/vmware/installer/vmware-installer which will be used to extract the contents of the VMware Workstation 6.5 bundle.

2. Download the latest version of VMware Workstation in "bundle" format from http://www.vmware.com/download/ws/. You need to be registered with VMware (it's free) but do not need a VMware Workstation license key to download it.

3. Extract the VMware Workstation bundle to a temporary directory. Note that the extracted contents are approximately 580M.

$ sudo /usr/lib/vmware/installer/vmware-installer --install-bundle VMware-Workstation-6.5.0-118166.i386.bundle --extract /tmp/vmware

$ du -sh /tmp/vmware
579M    /tmp/vmware

4. All of the VMware Tools ISOs are located in vmware-workstation/lib/isoimages/ within the temporary directory. In this example, I want to install VMware Tools for Windows guests, windows.iso.

$ ( cd /tmp/vmware/vmware-workstation/lib/isoimages/ ; ls -1 *.iso )
darwin.iso
freebsd.iso
linux.iso
netware.iso
solaris.iso
windows.iso
winPre2k.iso

5. Mount the windows.iso file as a loopback file system, and either share the loopback file system with Samba, or copy the VMware Tools files to a location accessible by your guest system.

$ mkdir /tmp/vmware_tools
$ mount -o loop windows.iso /tmp/vmware_tools

Note: You could also modify your guest configuration file (.vmx) and make one of your CD-ROM devices a "cdrom-image" device type. e.g.,

ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image"
ide1:0.fileName = "path_to/windows.iso"

6. In your guest system, run setup.exe from the VMware Tools directory.

Deprecated Notes

1. Download the latest "Archived Version" of VMware Workstation in .tar.gz format at http://www.vmware.com/download/ws/. You do not need to be registered nor have a VMware Workstation license key to download this version.

Example:
$ wget http://download3.vmware.com/software/wkst/VMware-workstation-5.5.0-18463.tar.gz

2. Locate and extract the windows.iso VMware Tools image from the tarball.

Locate the windows.iso file (example):
$ tar ztvf VMware-workstation-5.5.0-18463.tar.gz | grep windows.iso
vmware-distrib/lib/isoimages/windows.iso

Extract the windows.iso file (example):
$ tar zxvf VMware-workstation-5.5.0-18463.tar.gz vmware-distrib/lib/isoimages/windows.iso

Or, to extract windows.iso without creating the vmware-distrib/lib/isoimages directory structure, use pax:
$ pax -zrvf VMware-workstation-5.5.0-18463.tar.gz -s,vmware-distrib/lib/isoimages/,, vmware-distrib/lib/isoimages/windows.iso

3. Mount the windows.iso file as a loopback file system, and either share the loopback file system with Samba, or copy the VMware Tools files to a location accessible by your guest system.

$ mkdir /tmp/vmware_tools
$ mount -o loop windows.iso /tmp/vmware_tools

4. In your guest system, run setup.exe from the VMware Tools directory.

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Last modified: 2008/10/24