How to Install VMware Tools on Ubuntu 18.04

October 15, 2019


A virtual or guest operating system has limited functions compared to a host system. VMware Tools introduces a set of functionalities that improve the performance of guest operating systems running on virtual machines.

VMware Tools improves video resolution, mouse movement, and adds the ability to share files between a host and guest system.

This tutorial explains how to install VMware Tools on Ubuntu 18.04.

How to install VMware tools on Ubuntu.


  • Access to a terminal
  • The apt package manager
  • A user with sudo privileges

3 Options For Installing VMware Tools on Ubuntu

The simplest method for installing VMware Tools is using the open-vm-tools package from the official Ubuntu repositories.

The other option is to retrieve and install the software package from the VMware host. The installation can then be completed either by using the Ubuntu desktop GUI or by installing directly from the command terminal.

Install Open VM Tools Package

You can complete the installation of VMware Tools by entering a single command in your terminal window:

sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools open-vm-tools-desktop

This simple command installs an open-source implementation of VMware Tools. The software package is available in official Ubuntu repositories. The installation is quick, uses fewer resources, and is specific to the Linux distribution you are using.

Use GUI to Install VMware Tools in Ubuntu

The Ubuntu GUI (Graphical User Interface) provides a user-friendly environment for installing VMware Tools. Start the Ubuntu Virtual Machine and follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Open the VM drop-down menu and select Install VMware Tools.
install vmware tools highlighted in menu
  1. A virtual disk containing the VMware Tools installation appears on the desktop.
vmware tools installation software selected
  1. Explore the content on the disk by double-clicking on the icon as seen in the image above.
finding the tar.gz file in vmware tools
  1. Right-click on the compressed tar.gz file and select where to extract the files. In this example, we will extract the files to the desktop. Regardless of the location, it is important to take note of it, as it is relevant for future actions.
extract tar file in vmware interface
  1. Open a terminal window. If you have saved the folder on your desktop, type the following command to access the vmware-tools-distrib folder:
cd Desktop/vmware-tools-distrib
  1. Initiate the installation process by entering:
sudo ./ –f
initiate installation process in Ubuntu
  1. The installation will commence. Then the system will prompt several questions. The purpose of these questions is to specify the locations for the installation. To apply the default settings, confirm each location by pressing Enter.
code example for gui installation
  1. Type the following command to verify the version and successful installation of VMware Tools:
vmware-toolbox-cmd --version
verify install with vmware-toolbox-cmd --version

Use Terminal to Install VMware Tools

If your Ubuntu system does not have a graphical interface, it is possible to install VMware Tools directly from the command terminal.

  1. Use the terminal and create a directory to mount the installation disk:
sudo mkdir /mnt/cdrom
  1. Mount the vmware-tools disk to the newly created directory:
sudo mount dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
mount vmware-tools disk
  1. Determine the name of the compressed software archive:
ls /mnt/cdrom
extract tar file in red
  1. Using the information presented in red, extract the content from the archive to a temporary directory:
tar xvzf /mnt/cdrom/VmwareTools-10.3.10-12406962.tar.gz
  1. Navigate to the VMware tools distribution folder:
cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/
  1. Install VMware Tools:
sudo ./ –f
terminal install procedure on ubuntu

As with the GUI installation, the terminal presents you with questions. Those will include questions on whether individual files should be installed and the locations for their installation.

Pressing Enter applies the default settings.


By following this tutorial, you will have successfully installed VMware Tools on your Ubuntu system.

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Vladimir Kaplarevic
Vladimir is a resident Tech Writer at phoenixNAP. He has more than 7 years of experience in implementing e-commerce and online payment solutions with various global IT services providers. His articles aim to instill a passion for innovative technologies in others by providing practical advice and using an engaging writing style.
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