Device drivers smooth mouse operations, make VMware features such as folder sharing available, and improve sound, graphics, and networking performance. If you do a custom VMware Tools installation or reinstallation, you can choose which drivers to install.

Which drivers are installed when you install VMware Tools also depends on the guest operating system and the VMware product. For detailed information about the features or functionality that these drivers enable, including configuration requirements, best practices, and performance, see the documentation for your VMware product. The following device drivers can be included with VMware Tools:

SVGA driver

This virtual driver enables 32-bit displays, high display resolution, and significantly faster graphics performance. When you install VMware Tools, a virtual SVGA driver replaces the default VGA driver, which allows for only 640 X 480 resolution and 16-color graphics.

On Windows guest operating systems whose operating system is Windows Vista or later, the VMware SVGA 3D (Microsoft - WDDM) driver is installed. This driver provides the same base functionality as the SVGA driver, and it adds Windows Aero support.

SCSI driver

Included with VMware Tools is the VMware Paravirtual SCSI driver for use with paravirtual SCSI devices. Drivers for other storage adapters are either bundled with the operating system, or they are available from third-party vendors.

For example, Windows Server 2008 defaults to LSI Logic SAS, which provides the best performance for that operating system. In this case, the LSI Logic SAS driver provided by the operating system is used.

Paravirtual SCSI driver

This driver is for VMware Paravirtual SCSI adapters, which enhance the performance of some virtualized applications.

VMXNet NIC drivers

The vmxnet and vmxnet3 networking drivers improve network performance. Which driver is used depends on how you configure device settings for the virtual machine. Search the VMware Knowledge Base for information on which guest operating systems support these drivers.

When you install VMware Tools, a VMXNet NIC driver replaces the default vlance driver.

Mouse driver

The virtual mouse driver improves mouse performance. This driver is required if you use some third-party tools such as Microsoft Terminal Services.

Audio driver

This sound driver is required for all 64-bit Windows guest operating systems and 32-bit Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Vista guest operating systems.

Guest Introspection

If you use vSphere and vShield, you can now perform a custom VMware Tools installation to install the Guest Introspection Thin Agent component. Guest Introspection uses the hypervisor to perform antivirus scans without a bulky agent. This strategy avoids resource bottlenecks and optimizes memory use. For more information, see the vShield Quick Start Guide.

Memory control driver

This driver is required for memory ballooning and is recommended if you use VMware vSphere. Excluding this driver hinders the memory management capabilities of the virtual machine in a vSphere deployment.

Modules and drivers that support making automatic backups of virtual machines

If the guest operating system is Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or other newer Windows operating systems, a Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) module is installed. For other, older Windows operating systems, the Filesystem Sync driver is installed. These modules allow external third-party backup software that is integrated with vSphere to create application-consistent snapshots. During the snapshotting process, certain processes are paused and virtual machine disks are quiesced.

VMCI and VMCI Sockets drivers

The Virtual Machine Communication Interface driver allows fast and efficient communication between virtual machines and the hosts they run on. Developers can write client-server applications to the VMCI Sock (vsock) interface to make use of the VMCI virtual device.