Home > Uncategorized > Updating VMware Tools on Red Hat Enterprise/Scientific/CentOS Linux 6 for VMware ESXi 5

Updating VMware Tools on Red Hat Enterprise/Scientific/CentOS Linux 6 for VMware ESXi 5

In a previous post I discussed installing the open source VMware tools for Red Hat Enterprise/Scientific/CentOS Linux 6 from a yum package repository provided by VMware. This is in contrast to using the version distributed directly with VMware ESX/ESXi, which with the Linux platform was not provided in an RPM package format. With the upgrade to ESXi 5 the update process for the tools installed from the repository is not very seamless because of some update issues in addition to package changes.

First off, to get the VMware tools packages updated it is important to upgrade to the latest version of Red Hat/Scientific/CentOS Linux 6 due to some issues with the yum version distributed originally with 6.0. VMware has disabled the automatic update due to this issue:

http://packages.vmware.com/tools/docs/engineering-release-notes/rhel-upgrade

I am using Scientific Linux 6, for Red Hat and CentOS the upgrade process should be similar but most likely will have a few differences. Be careful to test your software installed because doing the following procedure will result in a minor version upgrade (6.1 at the time of this writing):

https://www.scientificlinux.org/documentation/howto/upgrade.6x

Now it is time to get the VMware tools updated. First you will want to remove the old version distributed from the package repository if you followed a procedure similar to my original post. The other VMware tools packages should be automatically removed since they depend on this kernel module.

# yum remove vmware-open-vm-tools-kmod

Verify all VMware tools packages are removed, RPM should return no results. Remove any additional VMware packages if necessary.

# rpm -qa | grep vmware

Now you’ll need to edit the original yum repo file created for the VMware tools repository:

# nano /etc/yum.repos.d/vmware-tools.repo

Modify the “baseurl” directive to be similar to below.

baseurl=http://packages.vmware.com/tools/esx/5.0/rhel6/i386

I am using the 32-bit Linux version so I have i386 at the end, substitute x86_64 if using the 64-bit version.

Now you need to clean out the cached info about the repositories so that it will read the package info from the modified VMware repo:

# yum clean all

Install the kernel module packages:

# yum install vmware-tools-esx-kmods

If you are using the PAE kernel you’ll need to append “-PAE”  or “-pae” with no space before at the end of the command above.

Time to install the new VMware tools, in my case I’ll install without graphical components since my Linux servers don’t run with a GUI:

# yum install vmware-tools-esx-nox

Or use this if your Linux VM is running with a graphical interface:

# yum install vmware-tools-esx

That should do it. Your VMware tools should now be updated to the latest version available with ESXi 5.

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  1. Mourn Grym
    December 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm | #1

    Running CentOS 6.2 64bit on ESXi 5 w/ these tools installed causes VNCSERVER (tigervnc in CentOS) to never recognize the keyboard or mouse when connecting remotely (no encryption, same LAN).

    Removing the tools allows VNC to run as expected. Ran fine in ESXi 4.1, what happened and how can I fix this? I cannot use the VMWare client all the time to connect to this VM and command line is not enough for what the users are doing.

  2. Nelson Ribeiro
    January 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm | #2

    Hi,

    this is a great post…especially since I had the same problem and didn´t like all the other workarounds (well, they didnt worked well either). This solution works like a charm and it is easy to setup.
    Now, there is one thing that I am bother with… the vsphere client states that the linux vm does not have the vmware tools installed. I know that this is just a cosmetic issue, but nevertheless I like things nice and neat. Any ideias on how to vmware recognizes that the tools are installed?

    • January 25, 2012 at 5:35 am | #3

      Hi Nelson,

      Using this method for me the VMware tools shows up as Unmanaged, meaning that updates are handled through the yum repository and not the vsphere client. All of the feature should be available, such as time sync, guest OS shutdown, and the balloon driver. If it shows as Not Installed, the tools may not be installed properly.

      Aaron

      • Nelson Ribeiro
        January 25, 2012 at 9:32 am | #4

        Hi Awalrath,

        thanks for the reply. I am going to test this on a new linux vm installed from zero. I will get back to you on this. Maybe the linux vm where I tested this was not completely clean of vmware tools (the ones from the vsphere).

        Nelson.

      • CR
        June 22, 2012 at 4:13 pm | #5

        Hello Aaron,

        just change the following line in /etc/vmware-tools/tools.conf

        from
        disable-tools-version=true
        to
        disable-tools-version=false

        and restart the vmware tools service. Then the vSphere Client should display the vmware tools as “running (current)”.

        CR

  3. Marcin
    October 12, 2012 at 2:17 am | #6

    Has anyone ever done any speed comparison Cent6 installed on ESXi 5 with VMware Tools vs Cent6 installed on KVM?

  4. CR
    February 28, 2013 at 9:49 am | #7

    CR :
    Hello Aaron,
    just change the following line in /etc/vmware-tools/tools.conf
    from
    disable-tools-version=true
    to
    disable-tools-version=false
    and restart the vmware tools service. Then the vSphere Client should display the vmware tools as “running (current)”.
    CR

    This obviously doesn’t work anymore with Vmware Tools for ESX 5.0 U2 or does anyone have a solution?

    CR

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