How to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out- gHacks Tech News


How to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out

I use VMWare Workstation Player primary to run Linux but a few days ago I wanted to install a virtual copy of Windows 10 to test some upcoming features. Virtual machines are great for testing operating systems or programs as they can be set up relatively quickly, don't alter existing installations and don't interfere with the underlying operating system.

How to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out

I got the ISO using Martin's guide and the installation went fine. But then, I noticed that it didn't install the VMWare tools like it would normally do.

One of the important features that these tools add is the ability to copy data from the virtual machine to the host operating system or vice-versa. That's how I actually came to know that the tools weren't installed, it didn't let me move some folders from my main Windows 10 to the VM version.

I knew that I had chosen the option to download VMWare tools when creating the virtual machine. I even remember the message log displaying the notification that the tools had been downloaded. Oddly, when I clicked the Manage option the install VMWare tools option was grayed out.

Hoping to find a fix, I began to look around and came across official documentation on VMWare's support portal. According to the page, the virtual CD/DVD drive should be set to "Auto Detect" so that VMWare would let the user install VMWare Tools. The option which I wanted to change in the virtual machine's CD/DVD drive was set to use my Windows 10 ISO and I couldn't change this setting.

How to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out - new issue

Here's what I tried (and failed)

  1. Ejecting the Windows ISO. I hoped this would free the drive and the virtual machine would let me install the tools.
  2. Disconnecting and reconnecting the virtual optical drive.
  3. Adding a second CD/DVD drive. It just kept giving me SATA0 errors.

None of this worked. This is when I searched the VMWare forums and found the solution on this thread.

How to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out

1. Shut down the virtual machine.

2. Open VMWare Workstation Player and right-click on the VM. (Don't start the VM)

3. Select the "Settings" option to edit the hardware settings.

4. Highlight the CD/Drive on the left side-bar under the Hardware tab and click on the remove button.

5. Repeat the above step to remove the Floppy Drive. (Optional, but this is what fixed it for me. Courtesy: AskUbuntu forums)

6. Click on the "Add button" and select "CD/DVD" Drive and select finish. The right pane should have now have the option "Use Physical Drive > Auto Detect" enabled. (Previously, it had the Windows ISO selected)

How to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out - add cd dvd drive

7. Click on "OK" to close the window, and Start the VM as normal.

8. 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 should no longer be greyed out. Click on it to install the VMWare Tools. You will also see a new tab at the bottom of the screen prompting you to install the tools.

How to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out final

If this doesn't work, you can try to manually download the VMWare Tools ISO, mount it in a virtual drive and install it. This isn't limited to Windows 10 VMs, it should work on any VM be it Linux, macOS, or older versions of Windows.

How to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out
Article Name
How to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out
Learn how to install VMWare tools if the option is grayed out. The fix is simple and should take no more than a few minutes.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. mikef90000 said on November 8, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Good to find a non-enterprise user of VMware. Several years ago I considered getting up to speed on it but VMware reportedly laid off the development staff of Workstation (or Player, or whatever they call it this week :().
    Say, what do they call it now and what version is it?
    Is the free version hard to find and are there any significant limitations compared to Virtualbox or KVM?
    TIA, Mike

    1. VioletMoon said on November 9, 2019 at 6:07 pm

      VMware Workstation free version =

      I prefer VirtualBox simply because it works well with any distro. I rather doubt Ashwin’s problem would occur on VirtualBox.

      Yet, when it works and one does whatever is necessary, I find VMware to have a more polished look and feel.

      One will eventually encounter a problem with either tool which will require a bit of research–no “real” problems, though.

      Windows Hyper-V works fine.

  2. mysiak said on November 8, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    VMWare Workstation Player also requires some VMX file editing to tweak some of the features not available via GUI.

    Why not just use VirtualBox instead?

  3. Ascar said on November 10, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    These days the most important and most valuable product of Oracle is VirtualBox! Nobody cares about Oracle Database, Oracle eBusiness Suite and the like anymore.

  4. Haresh said on January 6, 2020 at 11:53 pm

    Thank you. This article helped me. My issue was my 2019 MacBook Pro doesn’t have a CD/DVD so my VM image never had a CD drive. Adding the CD to the VM allowed the VM to boot with CD in a disconnected state but it was there. Then the option to install VMware Tools was not grey! hurray! Got my VMware tools installed and was then able to use the features such as sharing a drive with my VM.

    Thanks for the tip of adding a CD drive. I never realized this before because all my other VM hosts had CD drives. This should allow my other Kubernetes VM’s to also get the tools now. I’ll try that next.

  5. Anonymous said on January 9, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Thank you so much. This got me out of the few hours rant of frustration.

  6. Anonymous said on January 15, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Very Helpful! Thank you

  7. Anonymous said on January 22, 2020 at 12:03 am

    thanks. Worked instantly

  8. Anonymous said on January 22, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Thank you so much. You saved my time!

  9. Anonymous said on January 30, 2020 at 8:02 am

    This procedure really helped me.

  10. Anonymous said on February 10, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you so much – really helped me out of a problem

  11. Daniel said on February 16, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    May cause an issue with the IDE device configured as a slave. See, for solution:

  12. Anonymous said on March 6, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    Appreciate it. It was useful.

  13. zxc said on March 14, 2020 at 5:28 pm


  14. Bartek said on March 24, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Thank, Ten seconds to find your tips and five sends to fix my issue.

  15. Anonymous said on April 4, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks a million!

  16. Bruno said on April 6, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    I have tried the Removing the CD solution , it will work if you add a CDRom drive again.
    if there is no CDROM you can’t install the tools

  17. Tigs1112 said on April 6, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    It saved me so much time instead of reinstalling the entire VM.

  18. Anonymous said on April 10, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Removing the floppy disk did it for me, thanks!

  19. BDR said on April 16, 2020 at 4:22 am

    Thank you very much! Followed your instructions to a tee to remove the CD/DVD and Floppy drives on my Windows 7 VM. Much appreciated!

  20. Anonymous said on April 25, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    This really helped a lot. Thanks!

  21. Anonymous said on May 9, 2020 at 4:20 am

    Thanks a lot, I spent hours tying to find a fix.

  22. Anonymous said on May 15, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    This works very well!

  23. Aníbal said on May 22, 2020 at 12:33 am


  24. santhosh said on June 7, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    Thank you … the steps mentioned here work as is…

  25. Matt Foster said on June 23, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you – exactly what I needed!

  26. Ahme Dewidar said on July 10, 2020 at 2:45 am

    Thanks bro, i was really about to give up

  27. Tony Firshman said on July 10, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    I have an OS X Mavericks (10.9.5) VM under VMware Fusion 11.5.5 under MacOS Catalina 10.5.5
    on a 2019 16″ Macbook Pro.

    Unity is greyed out.
    Of course I have tried uninstalling/installing VMware Tools. Looking at the installation logs there were no
    issues, and all files are there in /Library/Application Support/VMware Tools/
    The two symlinks are also fine:
    ln -s ‘/Library/Application Support/VMware Tools/mount_vmhgfs’ /sbin/
    ln -s ‘/Library/Application Support/VMware Tools/mount_vmhgfs’ /Library/Filesystems/vmhgfs.fs/Contents/Resources/

    I have even removed and re-installed ‘VMware Fusion’.

    This has, so far, defeated VMware support. Mind you they didn’t realise
    ‘Library/Application Support/VMware Tools/’ was root and not the user,
    so I am not sure she knows enough!

  28. Glenn said on July 18, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    worked first time! thanks again

  29. Tilman said on July 19, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Thank you so much for your guide! Now it work.

  30. Anonymous said on August 11, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks, this worked perfectly

  31. Anonymous said on August 16, 2020 at 4:40 pm


  32. Milind said on September 14, 2020 at 8:35 am

    Thanks a lot! Enabling CD-ROM totally missed out of my mind. And I struggled a lot for accessing shared drive inside guest. Now it is working after enabling CD-ROM and installing VMWare tools.

  33. Anonymous said on September 25, 2020 at 3:15 am

    GOD! Thanks!

  34. matin said on October 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    this fantastic even the vendor has no solution

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