Installing VMWare tools for Ubuntu Linux

I’ve read all over the place that the latest version of VMWare supports Ubuntu directly, but it still doesn’t seem to work. I still get the error message that there is not a compiled version of the tools suitable for my system. Here’s the steps I took to allow the tools to compile:

sudo apt-get install build-essential

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`

That was pretty much it. Once I had run those two commands, I was able to install the VMWare tools without a hitch.

16 Responses to “Installing VMWare tools for Ubuntu Linux”

  1. Irene Chan Says:

    I have run the first command, but when I tried to run

    sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`

    I got the following error:

    Couldn’t find package linux-headers-uname -r

    and when I tried to install vmware tool, I continually get the following message:

    sudo: ./desktop/vmware/tools-distrib/ command not found.

    I am a bit of a newbie so would appreciate any assistance.

  2. Andy Says:

    Irene, it looks like you used the wrong single quote (or apostrophe) character in the second command line.

    The `command` construct causes “command” be executed, and its output inserted into the remaining command line.

  3. Craig Huber Says:

    Have an article on my blog that goes into more detail here, including a full on rails install, etc. Seems like we have similar tastes! Ubuntu, Rails & VM.

  4. lostrail Says:

    Irene try it this way:
    $ uname -r
    You will get your version, example:
    Then try to write this command:
    $ sudo apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.15-27-386
    (Just add the information you got from uname -r at the tail…)

    If it still does not work, try searching your headers with:
    $ apt-cache search linux-headers
    There have to be some packages, that fit, but if you install other 2.6.x headers, than your kernel version, there is no guarantee it will work.

  5. Robert Simon Says:


    I ran both commands successfully, but I’m still getting the same error message:

    unable to copy the source file ./installer/ to the destination file /etc/init.d/vmware-tools

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


  6. Lewis Roberts Says:

    Hi, I stumbled across this when looking for a solution for installing VMware Tools on to Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft.

    Following on from some tinkering I’d done with installing Citrix ICA Clients I was aware of a package called “alien” that allows conversion of .rpm into .deb files that are compatible with the package isntaller in Ubuntu.

    Start a Terminal and type in:

    sudo apt-get install alien

    Once the package has installed, copy the .rpm VMware Tools installer package to your home directory and type the following command:

    sudo alien VMwareTools-

    This converts the file in to a .deb file but admittedly I don’t actually know if it works, it installed fine but I’ll be damned if I can see that it has made any difference to my VM.

  7. Ade Says:

    I installed the VMware Tools from a converted alien file as well . the VmWare console still thinks that VMware Tools are not installed and I cannot increase the screen resolution beyond 1024×768. If anyone has any info I’ll greatly appreciate it!

  8. Terence Says:

    @Lewis Roberts

    Same EXACT thing with me. it supposedly installed but there was absolutely no change.

  9. Tom Says:

    I have run these 2 commands successfully, however, on running the command, I get to the c compiler message, and here I have to change the directory to /usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.20-15-generic/include

    I then get the error:
    “The directory of kernel headers (version @@VMWARE@@ UTS_RELEASE) does not match your running kernel (version 2.6.20-15-generic). Even if the module were to compile successfully, it would not load into the running kernel.”

    Any suggestions anybody?

  10. Sean Says:


    I get the same error, but I am using “16-generic”.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  11. Aleks Says:

    I got the same error using linux-headers-2.6.20-16-386

    Did you also upgrade to feisty fawn? Didn’t have any problem in dapper or edgy…

  12. Tom Says:

    I’ve not gotten anywhere with this, I believe that it’s because Ubuntu is not a supported OS in the version of VMWare that I have.
    I have been told that the most up to date version of VMWare will have support for my opperation system, but I don’t feel like buying a new license.

  13. Savio Says:

    After installing VMWare tools with the deb pkg, you need to run the config tool. sudo /usr/bin/

    This should install VM tools on Ubuntu.

  14. Joe Says:


    For vmware-tools to be active, you still need to run vmware-toolbox.

  15. Lisa Says:

    You can download VMWare Server for free. You don’t have to buy a new license unless you’re using ESX or something, so go ahead and upgrade.

  16. sant Says:

    Hi guys
    Am facing serious problem with vmware tools, How do i install them on ubuntu guest ???
    I tried alien, installed through terminal
    what next ???
    pls help meeeeeeee