When you install a virtual machine or a guest OS in your machine, it does not exactly perform like the host OS because it has some limitations regarding performance. But VMware presented a solution for this by introducing VMware guest tools that enhance and improve the performance of the guest OS.

VMware tools enable the integration between the host and the guest operating systems. It includes the set of utilities that improves the graphical performance of VM and enables sharing folders, clock synchronization, mouse tracking and much more. Therefore, whenever you install a virtual machine on VMware, your first priority should be to install VMware tools before doing anything else.

In this article, we will explain how to install VMware tools in Debian using two different methods.

Let’s take a look at some of the features of VMware tools:

  • Time synchronization between the host and the guest operating systems
  • Copy-paste text between applications on two VMs or among a VM and host
  • Improves graphical performance
  • Enables Shared folder to allow exchanging the files between VM and the host
  • Improves cursor movement
  • Allow snapshots of the Guest OS

We will use the latest version Debian 10 for describing the procedure mentioned in this article.

Method # 1: Install VMware tools that come with the VMware virtualization application

In this method, we will install guest tools using VMware tools that come with the VMware virtualization application. Follow the below steps to do so:

Step 1: To install VMware tools in Debian VM, you will need to connect the VMware tools virtual CD to VM CD-ROM drive. To do so, go to the top menu of your VM manager and navigate to VM > Install VMware tools. In case, if you have already installed VMware tools and you want to repair it, then click on Re-install VMware tools.

Step2: Then check if your system has automatically mounted the VMware tools CD-ROM image by running the following command in Terminal:

$ mount

If you see the output similar to below, then it is mounted. Otherwise, follow the below step.

List mount points

Step 3: Mount the VMware tools CD image. For that, first you will need to log in as a root. by typing the below command. When prompted for the password, enter the root password.

# su

Then create a directory for mount point by typing the below command. If directory is already created, skip this command.

$ mkdir /mnt/cdrom

Then type the below command to mount the CD-ROM drive at the mount point.

$ mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

Mount CD drive

Step 4: Now we will need to extract the VMware tools to another working directory let’s say /tmp. To do so, first navigate to /tmp directory by typing the below command in Terminal:

$ cd /tmp

Then run the below command to extract the installer files:

$ tar zxpf /mnt/cdrom/VMwareTools-10.2.0-7259539.tar.gz

Unpack VMWare tools archive

10.2.0 in the file name is the product version number, and 7259539 is the build number of the VMware product release. These numbers might differ.

Step 5: Now we have extracted the installation files to /tmp directory, so we do not need the VMware tools CD-ROM image anymore. We will unmount it by running the below command:

$ umont /dev/cdrom

Unmount CD drive

Step 6: Now we will install VMware tools. For that, navigate to the vmware-tools-distrib folder inside the /tmp directory by running the below command:

$ cd vmware-tools-distrib

Then run the below command as sudo to install and configure VMware tools:

$ sudo ./vmware-install.pl

Now during installation wizard, accept all the default values by pressing Enter

Start VMWare Tools Installer

To view the version of VMware tools, use the below command in Terminal:

$ vmware-config-tools.pl -h 2>&1 | grep "VMware Tools"

Check installed VMWare Tools version

Method # 2: Install VMware guest tools using Open VM tools

In this method, we will install VMware guest tools using Open VM tools.

Open VM tools is the open-source implementation of VMware Tools . It is specifically made for Linux distributions and it is available in standard repositories of most Linux distributions. So we will install it from Debian package manager. It is much easier to install as compared to standard VMware tools installation.

To start the installation, launch the Terminal in your Debian OS and enter the below command to install using apt package manager:

$ apt-get install open-vm-tools

When prompted, press y to continue the installation.

Install Open VM Tools

Wait for a while until the installation is completed. Finally,  reboot the system for the changes to take effect.

To view the version of Open VM tools, use the below command in Terminal:

$ /usr/bin/vmware-toolbox-cmd -v

Check Open VM Tools version

In this article, we have learned to install VMware tools in Debian 10 OS using two different methods. You can use any one of these methods to improve functionalities and enjoy the enhanced graphical experience.

How to install VMware tools in Debian 10