What Every vSphere Admin Must Know About VMware Tools

Managing the lifecycle of VMware Tools continues to be a topic of interest among VMware vSphere customers everywhere. There have been some notable changes to VMware Tools management in the past year, especially for environments that have opted for more advanced configurations.

The compilation below is targeted at those looking to get up to speed on the latest changes and technical information about VMware Tools lifecycle management.

Top VMware Tools Resources for vSphere Administrators

VMware Tools in 2017: The Absolute Must Know Info!

  • VMware Tools releases are not solely coupled with vSphere, the latest version is available from My VMware (Shortcut:
  • VMware ESXi includes VMware Tools for supported Windows and Linux guest operating systems, to quickly determine the version of Tools that was included with an ESXi release or patch, use
  • VMware Tools provides numerous benefits to workloads running on vSphere infrastructure, see the docs for full details
  • Windows VMs normally use the enhanced paravirtualized storage and networking drivers that are part of VMware Tools, which is why the guest operating system needs to be rebooted when one of these drivers is upgraded after a Tools update
  • There are three different distribution formats for Linux VMware Tools: TAR Tools are provided by VMware and installed via script, Operating System Specific Packages are binary packages created and hosted by VMware at, and Open VM Tools are binary packages compiled by individual Linux vendors and included in almost all current distributions
  • When Linux distributions offer Open VM Tools, VMware recommends using those instead of installing the TAR version that is included with ESXi, especially now that paravirtualized Linux drivers are present in the upstream kernel
  • Instead of using the default model of including Tools installers on every ESXi host, a central repo can be configured on a shared datastore; this enables standardization as well as the ability to quickly deploy the very latest releases of Tools to vSphere clusters – more details are available on vSphere Central
  • For the above centralized repo configuration change to take effect, hosts must be rebooted or manually configured from the ESXi shell; this procedure varies depending on vSphere release – see and the guide on vSphere Central
  • Tech Preview: VMware is considering distributing an optional offline bundle for future VMware Tools releases, so customers using Update Manager to patch VMware ESXi hosts can easily deploy the latest versions of Tools using their current workflows

With the above resource compilation, vSphere admins should be well-equipped to tackle the lifecycle management of VMware Tools – a critical piece of every VMware vSphere data center.