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Installing/Upgrading VMware Tools with Active Directory

Describes how you can push out a VMware Tools install/upgrade using MSIEXEC and scripting.

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how you could push out a VMware Tools install/upgrade using MSIEXEC and scripting.

I promised I would have an Active Directory method for you all in the pipeline.

That’s what I have here below.

In this example AD was running in Windows 2003 – but I’m sure these settings would work in Window 2000 AD. I realized that an administrative installation would be required after reading a MS document on System Management 2.0 which stated:

“When you use SMS 2.0 to distribute a Windows Installer setup package, you must first set up the package source directory using Windows Installer’s administrative installation. An administrative installation installs a source image of the application that is similar to a source image on a CD-ROM, but that can be installed directly from a network location. An administrative installation also prepares an application so that it can be run directly from the network location.

You perform an administrative installation by using the Windows Installer /a command-line option.

MSIEXEC /a setup.msi

An administrative installation performs all actions (such as expanding compressed files) that are required to either install or run the package directly from the network location. The package author determines the exact operations to be performed for a package during an administrative installation.”

Overview of Procedure

  • Copy VMware Tools to a File Server
  • Create an Administrative Installation of VMware Tools
  • Create an OU for all the VMs, Create a GPO that weakens the Driver Signing Security and Computer Software policy to allow the installation to occur

Create an Administrative Install of VMware Tools

  1. Power on Windows VM
  2. In the Remote Console, choose to Install VMware Tools 

    This will attach you to the ISO for the VMware Tools CD-ROM

  3. Open a command prompt and CD-ROM drive letter and locate the MSI file
  4. Type:

    msiexec /a “VMware Tools.msi”

  5. Choose Next 

    Notice how the dialog box states “The installation will create a server image of VMware Tools at a specified network location”

  6. Type a path to where you want your admin installation to be created such as C:\VMware-Tools and click the Install button
  7. Click Finish 

  8. Note: Copy the administrative version of VMware Tools to file server and share out the directory

Weakening the Driver Signing Security using an AD Policy
These instructions come from MS KB article Q298503.

  1. In Active Directory Users & Computers
  2. Create an OU which contains all your VMs
  3. Move all you computer accounts for those VMs to the New OU
  4. Right-click the OU, Select the Group Policy Tab
  5. Click New, and type in a name such as VMware Tools Software Policy
  6. Expand + Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Security Options
  7. Locate the policy setting called:

    Device: Unsigned Driver Installation Behavior
    Choose X Silently Succeed

  8. Choose OK and Close all Windows

Creating a Computer Software Installation Policy

  1. Expand + Computer Configuration, Software Settings
  2. Right-click Software Installation
  3. Choose New and Package
  4. Browse to your file server and select the MSI File, in my case \\fileserver1\VMware-Tools-W2K\VMware Tools.msi
  5. Choose Assigned

    If you have Virtual center, like me, you can schedule a reboot which should force it to refresh the policy and install the VMware Tools. When the reboot happens, you will see a dialog like this:


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