How to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out
VMware is a set of tools that allows you to efficiently and effortlessly manage files, programs, and installations between your different virtual systems and allows you to control everything from your primary computer. It’s absolutely essential for anyone interested in virtual machines.
Typically, I use VMware Workstation Player to mainly run Linux as my virtual system. However, a few days ago, I wanted to install a virtual copy of Windows 10 to test out some of the new upcoming features.
This is exactly what virtual machines excel at—being able to run and test out operating systems or applications with a virtual setup that can be put together quickly and won’t affect existing installations and processes with the primary system.
So, I grabbed the ISO I needed using Martin's guide on Download Windows and Office ISO images, and the installation went smoothly. At least, it almost did.
For some reason, it didn’t install VMware tools as it should have. It had prompted the option to download it, and I had chosen yes. It even displayed in the log that I had successfully downloaded the tools, so I wasn’t sure what the issue was.
When I clicked on Manage, however, the option to install VMware tools was grayed out.
Why is installing VMware tools greyed out? This happens when you try to install VMware tools on a guest machine either with the function already mounted or in the case the system doesn't have a virtual optical drive.
I began looking for a solution. I found VMware’s official support documentation and looked through any suggestions they had. According to the page, the virtual CD/DVD drive should have been set to “Auto Detect” in order to let the user install VMware Tools. For me, the option was set to use my Windows 10 ISO, and I couldn’t change the setting.
So, I tried fixing my issue. I ejected the Windows ISO in the hopes it would free the drive and let me install the tools. I disconnected and reconnected my virtual optical drive, and added a second CD/DVD drive. However, after everything, I just kept getting SATA0 errors.
After a crushing defeat, I began searching for a new solution on the VMware forums. That’s where I found this thread. They were experiencing the exact same issue as I was. After combing through replies, I managed to figure out the solution to my problem.
For anyone facing this same issue with their VMware installation, here’s the solution in a pleasing format. Even though I was doing this for Windows 10, this isn’t limited to Windows installations and should work regardless of the virtual operating system.
How to install/reinstall VMWare tools grayed out
- Shut down the virtual machine.
- Open VMWare Workstation Player and right-click on the VM. (Don't start the VM)
- Select the "Settings" option to edit the hardware settings.
- Highlight the CD/Drive on the left sidebar under the Hardware tab and click on the remove button.
- Repeat the above step to remove the Floppy Drive. (Technically optional, but this is what fixed it for me. Courtesy: AskUbuntu forums)
- Click on the "Add button" and select "CD/DVD" Drive and select finish. The right pane should now have the option "Use Physical Drive > Auto Detect" enabled. (Previously, it had the Windows ISO selected)
- Click on "OK" to close the window, and Start the VM as usual.
- Once it has booted to the desktop, click on the menu at the top left corner and go to "Player > Manage > Install VMWare Tools".
The option to install VMware tools should no longer be grayed out. Click on it to begin the VMware installation. You will also see a new tab at the bottom of the screen prompting you to install the tools.
If the above steps didn't help you, you can try to install the software yourself.
How to download and install VMWare Tools installer manually
- Run VMWare Workstation Player and start the virtual machine that you want to install VMWare Tools in.
- The company provides the latest version of the software on its official website. I'll guide you through the process of downloading and installing it.
- Visit this page in your web browser, and click on Windows. The file that you need to download is an ISO. For example: The current version of the package has the filename VMware-tools-windows-12.2.0-21223074.iso. You can ignore the other files on the web page. Note: If you're running a Linux virtual machine, choose the Ubuntu folder on the page and then click on Dists. Select the one that fits your VM, and go to the next sub-directory to get the binary file (.DEB)
- Open File Explorer, and navigate to the folder where you saved the VMWare Tools ISO to.
- Double-click on the file, and the ISO should be mounted in a virtual DVD drive in Explorer.
- Switch to the virtual drive's folder, and look for the Setup.exe file in it. Run the set up to begin the installation process.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to install VMWare Tools.
- You will need to reboot the virtual machine to complete the installation, otherwise the changes will not take effect. If you chose to install the Enhanced Keyboard, you will also be required to restart your host machine.
Note: Your host PC may be a 64-bit machine, but your guest operating system could be a 32-bit one. You can choose to download the specific version that you want by clicking on the x64 or x86 folders, as the ISO file in this directory will be slightly smaller. If you're unsure whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit VM, you can play it safe and get the universal installer from the main page in step 3. The installer will select the appropriate version for your virtual machine's architecture.
Hopefully, this helped you fix your installation, just as it did for me.Advertisement