Install VMWare Tools on a Debian 5 Guest Virtual MachineInstall VMWare Tools on a Debian 5 Guest Virtual Machine

Posted March 7th, 2009 in VMWare

Just over a year I posted how to install VMWare Tools on a Linux Guest Virtual Machine which specifically looks at installing VMWare Tools for Red Hat / CentOS. I recently set up a Debian 5 Lenny virtual machine using VMWare Server and installed the VMWare Tools and the process is fairly similar but I had a couple of issues due to it being a base install with no compiler so thought it a good idea to post how to install VMWare Tools on a Debian 5 Virtual Machine.

Note that the instructions here should work for any version of VMWare Workstation or Server, but I am only currently able to use the VMWare Server 1.0 console. The first instruction below where you select the install vmware tools option may be in a different location for different versions.

Note also that these instructions should also work for Debian derived Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Mepis, Knoppix etc.

From the VMWare GUI console select the "VM" menu option and then "Install VMWare Tools". This only gets the disk image ready to be mounted as a CD-ROM so you have to do everything else manually.

Log in as the root user and then do this:

mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
cd /tmp
tar -zxf /media/cdrom/VMwareTools-1.0.8-126538.tar.gz
/tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/vmware-install.pl

You might get the following error message:

Setup is unable to find the "killall" program on your machine. Please 
make sure it is installed. Do you want to specify the location of this 
program by hand?

If so, type in "yes" and specify /usr/bin/pkill as the binary to use.

Then keep pressing [enter] until the installation is complete.

If you don't have make installed and/or gcc then you'll see these error messages:

Setup is unable to find the "make" program on your machine. Please 
make sure it is installed. Do you want to specify the location of this
program by hand?
Setup is unable to find the "gcc" program on your machine. Please 
make sure it is installed. Do you want to specify the location of this
program by hand?

Installing them is as easy as this:

apt-get install make

and this:

apt-get install gcc-4.1

Note that if you don't specify the 4.1 version of gcc Debian will install 4.3.2 and the VMWare Tools configuration app will tell you this:

Your kernel version was built with "gcc" version "4.1.3", which you 
are trying to use "/usr/bin/gcc" version "4.3.2". This configuration 
is not recommended and VMWare Tools may crash of you'll continue. 
Please try to use exactly the same compiler as one used for building 
your kernel. Do you want to go with the compiler "/usr/bin/gcc" 
version "4.3.2" anyway?

You'll also get that error message if gcc was already installed and it's the wrong version. You'll need to install both (assuming you can install both and specify the path to a different version) or remove the wrong version and install the correct version.

Once the installation is finished the VMWare Tools are started and in Debian it will automatically start when then system is started up.

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