Installing VMware Tools on Debian Linux

[Updated on 1-Apr-2017: For a long time now I haven’t bothered with installing VMware Tools manually anymore. Instead I’ve just used the open-vm-tools package included in Debian, so a plain “apt-get install open-vm-tools” does the job. I’ve understood that some features are missing when compared to the original VMware Tools, so be sure to check them if you have specific VM templating requirements. Some information in VMware blog: My original post follows below.]

Apparently there is no official deb installer available for installing VMware Tools on Debian Linux. Instead you need to install it manually. Here is a brief memo of actions required on Debian 6.x and 7.x:

  1. In vSphere Client, use the command Guest – Install/Upgrade VMware Tools (it “inserts” the VMware Tools ISO in the CD drive of the guest)
  2. Open console/SSH to the guest as root (or use sudo as needed)
  3. mount /dev/cdrom /mnt
  4. tar xzf /mnt/VMwareTools*
  5. umount /mnt
  6. apt-get update
  7. apt-get install gcc make linux-headers-$(uname -r)
  8. cd vmware-tools-distrib
  9. ./
  10. Change the install directory if wanted, otherwise pretty much proceed with Enter for each step
  11. cd
  12. rm -rf vmware-tools-distrib
  13. shutdown -r now

Bonus memo #1: Some of the VMware Tools packages can be downloaded in

Bonus memo #2: The ISO image for VMware Tools Linux install is found on the ESXi host in /usr/lib/vmware/isoimages


Add a Comment
  1. Thanks – this was very helpful.

  2. 9. ./ -d

  3. when the configuration too is run (
    it gets and empty path for the kernel header files …

    1. I would first check that the kernel headers are installed, as suggested in the “apt-get install gcc make linux-headers-$(uname -r)” command.

  4. Thank You! for a simple and effective way to get something done, again.
    (install vmware tools)

  5. Obrigado, consegui instalar e estou emulando um XP no Linux Mint 18.2

  6. Hello I have the latest open-vm-tools on Debian 8.1
    But then when I execute a Site Recovery Manager plan, I get the following error “guest os not supported”. I suspect it is due to the tools passing some wrong info about the OS to SRM. In fact, in theory Debian 8.1 is supported by SRM 6.1.2 ….

    any idea?

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