How to Install VMware Guest Tools on Ubuntu 20.04 | 18.04

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Without VMware guest tools, the virtual machines will not perform well.
If you want to learn how to install the guest tools on Ubuntu, the steps below is a great place to start.

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install VMware guest machines tools on Ubuntu 20.04 | 18.04.

VMware guest tools enhance its guest machines for better management, including several useful functionalities such as faster graphics performance, shared folders, shared clipboard, drag and drop operations, and more.

When you install a new guest operating system on a VMware Workstation host you should always install the guest tools.

The tools are now available as opensource packages called Open VM Tools (OVT) and are available via Ubuntu default package repositories.

Or you can use the built-in tools that come with the VMware host software.

In my test, I found that the built-in tools work better than the opensource versions.

To learn how to install VMware guest tools, follow the steps below:

Method 1: Install the Open VM Tools

As we mentioned above, the Open VM Tools is the opensource implementation of VMware guest tools. The packages are available in Ubuntu default repositories.

The tools are split into two packages: open-vm-tools for headless systems and open-vm-tools-desktop for desktop systems.

To install the opensource version, run the comment below:


sudo apt update
sudo apt install open-vm-tools


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

You should then restart the machine for the changes to take effect.

Method 2: Install from VMware Host

The tools can also be installed from VMware host software. For desktop machines, this might be a better option.

To install open the VMware host software. Start the guest machine and from the guest machine menu, select VM –> Install VMware Tools.

This will temporarily mount VMware Workstation virtual CD drive with the guest tools content on to Ubuntu guest machine.

While the virtual CD drive is mounted, open Ubuntu terminal by press Ctrl + Alt + T keys on your keyboard.

Then run the commands below to extract the content from the virtual CD drive that you must mounted to the /tmp directory.. This directory is a temporary location and will be deleted once the system reboots.

tar -xvf /media/$USER/"VMware Tools"/VMwareTools*.gz -C /tmp

Finally, run the commands below to install the tools… Using the -d option with the commands will install all the recommended plugins and modules with the default options…

sudo /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/ -d

If you want to manually select the options and configuration, then run it without the -d option..

When the installation completes, reboot your machine and you’re all set!


This post showed you how to install VMware guest tools on Ubuntu guest machines for better performance.

If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report it.


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1 Comment

  1. Wow you guys (and gals 🙂 what a great job you did in this post. Very helpful, informative, and versatile. Appreciate your work.

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