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Installing VMWare Tools

This video will look at how to install VMWare tools in a virtual machine on Windows and Ubuntu. The process of installing VMWare tools is pretty much the same regardless of which version of Windows or Ubuntu that you are running. The video also looks at the advantages and features gained when installing VMWare Tools.

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What is VMWare Tools?
VMWare tools is a suite of software and device drivers that improves the performance of a virtual machine. It is available for a large amount of Windows and Linux based operating systems. Without VMWare tools, the virtual machine may be sluggish in performance, in particular with graphic updates and mouse movements. With VMWare tools installed, additional features are also available to the virtual machine. For example, the ability for the virtual machine to sync its time clock with the host time. Sound support is added and the ability for the mouse pointer to move seamlessly between the virtual machine and the operating system. Lastly VMWare tools improves snapshots on the virtual machine. Without VMWare tools installed, when a snapshot is taken, the virtual machine will freeze for a longer period of time before control of the virtual machine is available to the user.

Operating System Support
VMWare software has been on the market since the late 90’s. Since it has been around for such a long time, there is excellent support for the main operating systems. Support is included for every Windows operating system from Windows 95. It also supports all the major Linux distributions, both modern and older versions. For alterative operating systems, it also supports Solaris, FreeBSD and Mac OS.

Demonstration Windows Install
1) To start the install, load up the VMWare Client. In this case it is VMWare vSphere Client. If you are using a different VMWare solution the client software may be different.
2) In VMWare vSphere client, select the virtual machine and then select the console icon.
3) When a mouse pointer is being used in a VMWare virtual machine, the mouse pointer may be captured by that virtual machine. To release it, you need to press ctrl and alt together.
4) To install VMWare Tools, select the VM menu and then select guest followed by Install/Update VMWare Tools.
5) The VMWare tools setup ISO will be mounted to the local optical drive. It is just a matter of running the setup from the drive or running it from the auto run. In most installs the default options will work fine and there is no need to remove or select additional components.
6) Once VMWare Tools is installed, additional options can be configured in the virtual machine. To access some of these options, the virtual machine first needs to be shutdown. To access these settings, right click the virtual machine and select the option edit settings. The settings in here relate to all the configurable options of the virtual machine including which hardware the virtual machine is using. To access the VMWare tools options, select the options tab and then select VMWware Tools. In here you can change how the virtual machine will act when options like pressing the stop, start and restart buttons are pressed. The scripts that are run during these actions can be enabled or disabled. Since a script is run when these actions are performed, the administrator can add there own commands to these scripts.
7) In the advanced section of VMWare tools options, you have two tickboxs. “Check and upgrade Tools during power cycling” will automatically check for new versions of the VMWare tools when the system is restarted and install it keeping VMWare tools as up to date as possible. The option “Synchronize guest time with host” will automatically sync the guest operating system time with the host. If the virtual machine does not have the ability to do this itself you should enable this option.

Demonstration Ubuntu Install
When using Linux in a virtual machine, many distributions will come with VMWare Tools bundled with the operating system. Even though this is the case, it is worthwhile installing VMWare Tools to ensure that you have the latest version of the tools available on the operating system.
1) From the console screen of the virtual machine, select the VM menu and then select guest followed by Install/Upgrade VMWare Tools. This will mount an ISO containing the VMWare tools to a virtual optical drive in the virtual machine.
2) Open the ISO that has been mounted, a Window should appear with the VMWare Tools on it. It is just a matter of right clicking the package and selecting the option Extract to.
3) To perform the install a terminal needs to be opened. This can be done by selecting the icon in the top left and selecting applications and then performing a search for terminal.
4) To install VMWare tools, change to the directory that the files were extracted to and then run the command “sudo ./vmware-install.pl –d” Once complete, the virtual machine will need to restarted to complete the install.

References
“Overview of VMware Tools” http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=340
“Installing VMware Tools in an Ubuntu virtual machine (1022525)” http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1022525

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