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Lesson 57: How to Enable VMware Copy and Paste on Ubuntu Guest Machines

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to enable drag n’ and drop as well as copy and paste between the guest machines and the host computer. When this feature is enabled users will be able to easily copy clipboard content between guests and hosts.

Before enabling this feature, users must install VMware Tools on each of the guest machine. After installing the guest machine tools, open the console and select VM –> Settings –> Options –> Guest Isolation to enable.

The steps below show you how to do that easily

Step 1: Enable VMware drag and drop / copy and paste

To drag and drop or copy and paste clipboard content between the host computer and guest machines, you must enable guest isolation feature. To do that, open the guest console from the host software (VMware Workstation), then go go VM –> Settings as shown in the image below:

vmware copy and page guest

When the settings page opens, click Options and select Guest Isolation. On that page, check the boxes as shown in the image below. When you’re done, save your changes and start the virtual machine.

vmware guest isolation

Step 2: Start the Virtual Machine

After enabling the guest isolation feature for drag n’ drop as well as copy and paste, go and install the guest tool. The steps below show you how to do that.

Installing VMware’s Tools on Ubuntu guest machine is not as easy as in Windows. With Windows systems, all one has to do it mount the virtual CD with the tools, run execute the executable.

The software installs and within seconds you’re done.

With Ubuntu, one must mount the virtual CD and copy and extract the content, then run the executable. Below are detailed steps of the process.

Step 3: Mount the Virtual CD on Ubuntu

Before you can install VMware Tools on the guest machine, you must first mount the Virtual CD with the tools. To do that, turn on and logon to the guest machine.. then from the host software menu, click VM –> Install VMware Tools as shown in the image below.

update vmware tool windows

Step 4: Installing VMware Tools on Ubuntu

After mounting the Virtual CD, you should see a new Virtual CD icon on Ubuntu launcher. While the Virtual CD is mounted, open the terminal, and run the commands below to first update the system.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade && sudo apt-get autoremove

After updating the systems, run the commands below to copy the content of the Virtual CD to the tmp directory.

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

Next, run the commands below to install VMware Tools with the default settings.

sudo /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/vmware-install.pl -d

To customize the installation, run the above command without the -d. The commands without the -d option allows you customize the installation by enabling newer and experimental features.

This is how to install VMware Tools on Ubuntu guest machine. Restart the guest machine and you’re done.

After restarting and some of VMware features are still not enabled or working, run the commands below to install the Open VM tools for Ubuntu.

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

Restart again and this time all should work.

Enjoy!