ubuntu orange logoI was asked to install VMware Tools on one of our older Ubuntu server VMs (10.04 LTS) running on a fairly new vSphere install. It took a little while to find the right instructions to achieve this, but in the end the process itself is pretty simple.

Once you are in your vSphere list of servers, right click and open a console on the target server due the tools installation. Log in as a normal user and make sure you have the required packages for building VMware Tools:

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r` psmisc

From the console window, select VM->Install VM Tools. This will technically mount a CD image on the VM, though I found on a server you need to manually manage the actual mount:

# make a mount point if needed :
sudo mkdir /media/cdrom

# Mount the CD
sudo mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

With the read-only CD now available to you, copy over the VMWareTools archive and extract it in a usable location:

# Copy and extract VMWareTools

sudo cp /media/cdrom/VMwareTools*.tar.gz ~

# Extract the archive's contents

tar xvf ~/VMwareTools*.tar.gz

Now all you need to do is execute the install script, and to make your life particularly easy, you should be able to get away with choosing the default answers to all the questions (in other words, just hit the ENTER key at each and every prompt).

cd ~/vmware-tools-distrib
sudo ./vmware-install.pl

And that’s pretty much it. Note, you’ll have to have some space available in the /boot folder for this to work, but yeah, pretty simple stuff.

Of course, if you don’t have access to your VMware host, then there are other ways of installing VMware tools