What are three benefits of VMware tools?

VMware tools are a set of utilities and drivers that enhance the performance of virtual machines running on VMware hypervisors like ESXi, Workstation, and Fusion. VMware tools are installed within the guest operating system of virtual machines and provide critical functionality.

What are three benefits of VMware tools?

There are many benefits of VMware tools. This article will examine three key benefits:

1. Improved Automated Guest Operating System Management

One of the main benefits of VMware tools is automated guest operating system time synchronization. The VMware tools suite includes a time synchronization driver that works to match the time of the guest operating system with the host.

This time synchronization occurs automatically when the virtual machine is powered on. The VMware tools driver continually monitors and adjusts the guest operating system time to keep it in sync with the ESXi host.

Keeping synchronized time is important for functions like scheduled tasks/jobs, log file timestamps, and integration with other systems. Without synchronized time, issues could occur. The automated time sync provided by VMware tools alleviates a manual administrative task.

2. Enhanced Performance and User Experience

Another advantage of VMware tools is an enhanced user experience and performance boost within the virtual machine.

One way VMware tools improves performance is through guest memory management optimizations that result in less memory usage. It enables techniques like memory sharing, memory ballooning, and idle memory tax. These capabilities allow the hypervisor to efficiently allocate memory across virtual machines.

Additionally, VMware tools includes optimizations for SCSI controllers and paravirtualized network drivers. This provides higher storage and network performance.

For the end user, one of the most notable improvements is better mouse performance. Without VMware tools installed, mouse movements can feel sluggish. With the tools drivers installed, mouse movements have higher fidelity and feel more responsive.

VMware tools also enables drag and drop of files and text copy/paste between the guest and host operating systems. This provides a much improved user experience.

3. Expanded Management Visibility and Automation

The third major benefit of VMware tools is expanded management visibility and automation capabilities for virtual machines.

VMware tools includes drivers and agents that enable deeper insight into the virtual machine’s health and performance. For example, VMware tools gathers and reports metrics like CPU, memory usage, disk usage, uptime, network stats, etc.

This data provides administrators substantially more visibility through tools like vCenter Server and ESXi host client dashboards. Insight into the inner workings of the virtual machine is critical for performance troubleshooting.

Additionally, VMware tools enables automation through features like vSphere vMotion. vMotion allows live migration of VMs between hosts without disruption. Without VMware tools, vMotion would not be possible.

Other capabilities like hot extending virtual disks and snapshots depend on VMware tools as well. The agents and drivers expose the necessary functionality to make these automation tasks possible.

Key Benefits of VMware Tools Summary

  • Automated guest time synchronization keeps VM OS clocks matched with host
  • Performance optimizations for memory, storage, network boost speed
  • Improved mouse handling and drag/drop for better user experience
  • Expanded metrics visibility for troubleshooting and alerts
  • Enables automation like vMotion, snapshots, and hot extend

VMware tools is a critical component that administrators should install and keep updated on all VMware virtual machines. The tools provide time synchronization, performance enhancements, improved user experience, management visibility, and automation capabilities. Organizations can better support users and troubleshoot issues with VMware tools installed.


In conclusion, VMware tools provides critical functionality and benefits for virtual machines running on VMware hypervisors. The three major benefits highlighted in this article were automated time synchronization, performance optimizations like improved mouse handling, and expanded visibility and automation capabilities for management.

VMware tools contains drivers and services that enable VMs to perform at their best while providing administrators with the control and visibility needed for smooth operations. Keeping VMware tools updated is recommended as part of normal systems administration and virtual infrastructure maintenance. The tools are easy to install and upgrade through the various VMware management consoles.

With the proper use of VMware tools, enterprises can build robust and high performing virtualized environments that take full advantage of the VMware ecosystem. The tools help unlock the complete potential of VMware’s industry leading virtualization platforms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I need VMware Tools if my host is running VMware Workstation?
    Yes, VMware Tools provides the same benefits like shared folders, clipboard sharing, and improved performance when running VMs in Workstation. Workstation includes a VM menu option to easily install or upgrade VMware Tools.

  2. How do I install VMware Tools on Linux VMs?
    The easiest method is using the VM > Install VMware Tools option in Workstation. Alternatively, you can mount the VMwareTools.tar.gz file and run the install.pl script inside the VM after un-tarring it. Root access is required.

  3. Can I copy my VM that has VMware Tools to another host?
    Yes, VMware Tools is portable when cloning or copying a VM to a new host. The VMware Tools drivers will continue functioning on the new hypervisor without needing reinstallation.

  4. Is there a VMware Tools install/upgrade log file I can check for errors?
    Yes, on Linux VMs the installation log file is /var/log/vmware-imc/toolsDeployPkg.log. On Windows it is C:\ProgramData\VMWare\VMTools\toolsDeployPkg.log.

  5. What user permissions are required to install VMware Tools on Windows?
    Administrator access is required on the Windows VM in order to properly install VMware Tools. Standard users will not have permissions to add drivers or services.

  6. Does VMware Tools work on nested/recursive VMs?
    Yes, you can run VMware workstation and install VMs inside of that, then install VMware Tools on those nested VMs. The tools will function normally providing time sync, shared folders, etc.

  7. Can I install VMware Tools over SSH or remote desktop instead of the VM console?
    VMware recommends using the VM console to install VMware Tools whenever possible. Remote access methods may have permission or display issues that complicate the installation.

  8. What is the relationship between open-vm-tools and VMware Tools?
    Open-vm-tools is an open source implementation of VMware Tools provided by VMware. It offers a subset of the capabilities. VMware Tools has more full-featured drivers, so most administrators still prefer the official VMware Tools.

  9. Can I install VMware Tools on virtual machines running on Hyper-V or VirtualBox?
    No, VMware Tools is designed only for use with VMware hypervisors like ESXi, Workstation, and Fusion. It will not function properly on competing hypervisors like Hyper-V or VirtualBox.

  10. How do I disable automatic VMware Tools upgrades?
    To disable automatic upgrades, edit the .vmx configuration file and set tools.syncTime to “false”. This prevents the VMware tools service from accessing the internet to check for updates.

  11. Is there a limit on how many VMs can have VMware Tools installed?
    No, each VM has its own independent install of VMware Tools. There is no limit to the number of VMs that can have VMware tools installed provided you have proper hypervisor licensing.

  12. Can I uninstall VMware Tools if a VMware hardware version upgrade makes it incompatible?
    Yes, you may need to uninstall VMware Tools prior to upgrading the virtual hardware version if there are compatibility issues. After the upgrade, a new compatible version can be reinstalled.

  13. How do I troubleshoot mouse synchronization issues with VMware Tools on Linux?
    Check that the VMware Tools vmwgfx driver is loaded with lsmod | grep vmwgfx. If not, try reinstalling VMware Tools or force a reinstallation of the driver.

  14. What ports does VMware Tools use for communicating with the host?
    VMware Tools uses TCP and UDP ports 8042 and 8043 for communication between the guest OS and the ESXi host by default. Firewalls on the host should allow access to these ports.

  15. Does VMware Tools fully replace integration components?
    Yes, VMware Tools has absorbed and replaced older integration services like VMware Virtual Machine Additions and older versions of tools. VMware Tools now provides all guest OS integration functionality.

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