Installing VMware Tools (Guest Tools)

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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-tools and open-vm-tools-desktop). The Guest Tools are also pre-installed in the Live image since Kali Linux 2021.3.

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, some additional scripts are needed. Those can be installed easily with kali-tweaks:

kali@kali:~$ kali-tweaks

In the Kali Tweaks menu, select Virtualization, then Install additional packages and scripts for VMware. Congratulations, you now have two additional tools in your toolbox!

The first one is a little script to mount the VMware Shared Folders. Invoke it with:

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

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

The second script is a helper to restart the VM tools. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for OVT to stops functioning correctly (e.g. such as copy/paste between the host OS and guest VM stops working). In this case, running this script can help to fix the issues:

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

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

Updated on: 2023-Jul-03
Author: g0tmi1k