Installing VMware Tools (Guest Tools)

Installing “Guest Tools”, gives a better user experience with VMware VMs. This is why since Kali Linux 2019.3, during the setup process it should detect if Kali Linux is inside a VM. If it is, then automatically install any additional tools (in VMware case, open-vm-tool).

As of September 2015, VMware recommends using the distribution-specific open-vm-tools (OVT) instead of the VMware Tools package for guest machines.


Should you decide to create your own VMware installation of Kali Linux (rather than using our pre-made VMware images), and you want to force a manual reinstall of open-vm-tools (as something has gone wrong), first make sure you are fully updated, then enter the following.

kali@kali:~$ sudo apt update
kali@kali:~$ sudo apt install -y --reinstall open-vm-tools-desktop fuse
kali@kali:~$ sudo reboot -f

Adding Support for Shared Folders When Using OVT

Unfortunately, shared folders will not work out of the box. To enable this feature for your current session, you will need to execute the following script after logging in.

kali@kali:~$ cat <<EOF | sudo tee /usr/local/sbin/mount-shared-folders
vmware-hgfsclient | while read folder; do
  echo "[i] Mounting \${folder}   (\${vmwpath})"
  sudo mkdir -p "\${vmwpath}"
  sudo umount -f "\${vmwpath}" 2>/dev/null
  sudo vmhgfs-fuse -o allow_other -o auto_unmount ".host:/\${folder}" "\${vmwpath}"
sleep 2s
kali@kali:~$ sudo chmod +x /usr/local/sbin/mount-shared-folders

All you then need todo is run.

kali@kali:~$ sudo mount-shared-folders

And with a bit of luck, checking /mnt/hgfs/ you should see your shared folders.

Restarting OVT

Some time to time, its not uncommon for OVT to stops functioning correctly (e.g. such as copy/paste between the host OS and guest VM stops working).

By creating the following script, and then calling it when there is trouble, should fix a some issues.

kali@kali:~$ cat <<EOF | sudo tee /usr/local/sbin/restart-vm-tools
systemctl stop run-vmblock\\\\x2dfuse.mount
killall -q -w vmtoolsd
systemctl start run-vmblock\\\\x2dfuse.mount
systemctl enable run-vmblock\\\\x2dfuse.mount
vmware-user-suid-wrapper vmtoolsd -n vmusr 2>/dev/null
vmtoolsd -b /var/run/vmroot 2>/dev/null
kali@kali:~$ sudo chmod +x /usr/local/sbin/restart-vm-tools

Afterwards just need to call it.

kali@kali:~$ sudo restart-vm-tools

For older versions of Kali Linux, here is our previous guide.

Updated on: 2021-Jun-22
Author: g0tmi1k