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How do you manually download VMware Tools ISO images?

VMware Tools optimizes VMs within a vSphere infrastructure. Although it's typically bundled with ESXi hosts, you can also manually install VMware Tools via an ISO image.

VMware Tools is a utility suite that enhances the guest OS of a VM and improves VM management. Without VMware Tools,...

VMs aren't optimized, and the vSphere infrastructure will display an error message that states that VMware Tools must be installed.

Typically, VMware Tools is bundled with ESXi hosts so that, after the host is installed and has initiated the VMware Tools installation from within the VM, it mounts the VMware Tools ISO image automatically.

It is also possible to download and install VMware Tools from the latest ISOs and installation packages because VMware provides an option to download separate versions of VMware Tools than those bundled with each new version of ESXi.

To download these packages, go to the VMware repository. You'll see a list of ESXi versions and, inside each of the folders, the usual packages and installation files for specific VMware Tools versions. Copy the installation package of your choice to your file server, and install VMware Tools; you don't even need to use the vSphere Web Client.

A list of ESXi packages
A list of ESXi packages in the VMware package repository.

Choose either x64 or x86 based on the VM's OS. This will allow you to download the VMware Tools .exe file and download the VMware Tools ISO image.

There are different ISO images to support different OSes -- these are but a few:

  • Windows.iso supports Windows Vista and later.
  • Linux.iso supports Linux guest OSes, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and later, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 and later and Ubuntu 10.04 and later.
  • Darwin.iso supports Mac OS X versions 10.11 and later.
  • Freebsd.iso supports FreeBSD.
  • Solaris.iso supports Solaris.

Manually downloading VMware Tools ISO images helps you stay up-to-date with your VMs and the guest OS system, as well as the latest technologies and optimizations.

Next Steps

How to install VMware Tools 10 on an ESXi host

Choose the right VM management tools for better security

Differences between Hyper-V and VMware ESXi architectures

This was last published in August 2017

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Why might you choose to install VMware Tools manually rather than automatically with the ESXi host?
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