VMware ESXi GA releases, and certain patch releases, include VMware Tools installers for the most common guest OSs.  A helpful resource that customers have used to map ESXi releases to VM Tools versions is available online at: 

Since the decoupling of Tools last year, not every version of Tools is bundled with an ESXi release.  This surprised customers that expected to look up any arbitrary Tools version in the mapping file – certain versions were not listed because they did not ship with ESXi.

In addition to the ESXi build number to Tools version mapping, the file is also useful to correlate the version code shown in the vSphere Client with the actual x.y.z version number that humans tend to use, as depicted below.


The release of Tools 10 and the asynchronous model that is driving a looser-coupling with ESXi brought us to recently revisit the utility of the mapping file. Starting today, all VM Tools releases will now be listed in the file. For those Tools releases that were never bundled with ESXi, a placeholder value will be present in the second column. If an ESXi patch or release subsequently ends up consuming one of those Tools versions, the value will be updated accordingly.

The placeholder value is esx/0.0  as seen in the image below:



Please keep in mind that VM Tools are compatible with a wide range of VMware ESXi releases – there is normally no requirement to update when new versions are available.  For the source of truth, consult the Interoperability Matrix.