I recently had to install Ubuntu 15.04 but didn’t want to buy a whole new computer for this. The Ubuntu machine was going to be used as a test bed for some of my opensource applications. Buying a new computer for this wan’t in the plan, so I installed VMware Workstation 11 on my Windows machine and installed a guest machine running Ubuntu 15.04.

Installing Ubuntu guest machine in VMware Workstation is easy, but if you really want to experience the full benefits of the guest machine, you’ll want to install the guest tool. It is very important to install VMware guest tool in the virtual machine.

With VMware guest tools installed, the guest machine will support significantly faster graphics performance,  support for shared folders,  drop & drag operations, support support seamless host and guest integration which allows grabbing and releasing the mouse cursor and copying and pasting between and host and guest machines.

This brief tutorial is going to show you how to easily install VMware guest tools in Ubuntu 15.04. Similar tool to this is the VirtualBox guest tool to support VirtualBox guest machines.

Installing VirtualBox tool is Ubuntu is easier and faster then installing VMware guest tool. In fact, It’s much more difficult installing VMware guest tool in Linux operating systems for new users.

VirtualBox allows click and run setup in Ubuntu and other Linux operating systems to install its tool. Unlike VirtualBox, VMware doesn’t make it easy to install its tool by clicking to run.

So, after installing Ubuntu guest OS in VMware Workstation, login to Ubuntu guest machine and update the systems. It’s better to update the systems prior to installing the guest tool. It’s not required to update Ubuntu first, but it makes things easier when installing the tool.

  • Updating Ubuntu

To update Ubuntu, run the commands below
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade && sudo apt-get autoremove

Restart the guest machine.

After logging in to the guest machine, select VM –> Install VMware Tools from VMware workstation menu. VMware Workstation application temporarily connects a virtual CD-Rom drive into the guest machine with the guest tool.

Next, open the terminal and run the commands below to copy the tool into a temporary location.

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

Finally, run the commands below to automatically install the guest tool using the default values. This is the easiest way to install the tool in Ubuntu.

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

Wait for the installer to complete the installation. After installing the guest tool, you’ll be prompted to restart your machine, do it.

When you restart, the guest machine will behave differently (in a good way), than it used to. With more advanced settings from VMware Tools menu, you will enable files copy, drag n’ drop, faster graphics and seamless integration with the host.

That’s it! This is how to install VMware guest tool in Ubuntu, and possibly in other Linux operating systems.