Installing VMWare Tools on Debian 8.1

For a project I am working on, I am running Debian 8.1 as a guest operating system in VMWare Player 7, and I needed to get VMWare Tools installed to enable host-to-guest folder sharing, and I was having no luck with Debian’s open-vm-tools package.

After several tries, I found that this works successfully for me:

First, downloading and installing the build-essential and the appropriate headers for my kernel packages:

sudo apt-get install build-essential 
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Then, using instructions from this site, running the following commands to install VMWare Tools:

# Remove existing open-vm-tools installations
sudo apt-get remove --purge open-vm* -y
sudo apt-get autoremove -y 

# Mount the VMWare Tools cd image, if it doesn't automount
# Mine automatically mounted to /dev/cdrom0
sudo mkdir -p /media/cdrom
sudo mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

# Copy the VMWare Tools archive to /tmp
cp /media/cdrom/VM*.tar.gz /tmp
sudo umount /media/cdrom
cd /tmp

# Extract and run the VMWare Tools installer
tar xzvf VM*.tar.gz
cd vmware-tools-distrib
sudo ./vmware-install.pl

The VMWare Tools installer is interactive, and will ask questions as it installs – for me, the defaults worked just fine. Once it finishes, it will ask if you want to run the vmware-config-tools script. I answered yes, let it finish, and restarted the VM, but I was not able to see the shared folders.

You can verify that Debian is seeing the shared folder by running vmware-hgfsclient in the terminal, and it should come back with a list of the available shared folders.

I had to run the vmware-config-tools script again:

sudo vmware-config-tools.pl

And then the shared folders were visible to the VM:

ls -l /mnt/hgfs

And finally, you can create a symlink to the shared folder location (rather than trying to mount it through the OS):

ln -s /mnt/hgfs/[name of share] /home/[username]/Desktop/[name of share]