VMware Tools is a set of services and modules that enable several features in VMware products for better management of, and seamless user interactions with, guests operating systems.

For example, VMware Tools has the ability to:

  • Pass messages from the host operating system to the guest operating system.
  • Customize guest operating systems as a part of the vCenter Server and other VMware products.
  • Run scripts that help automate guest operating system operations. The scripts run when the power state of the virtual machine changes.
  • Synchronize the time in the guest operating system with the time on the host operating system

VMware Tools Lifecycle Management provides a simplified and scalable approach for installation and upgrade of VMware Tools. It includes a number of feature enhancements, driver-related enhancements, and support for new guest operating systems. Run the latest version of VMware Tools or use open-vm-tools distributed with the Linux OS distribution. Although a guest operating system can run without VMware Tools, always run the latest version of VMware Tools in your guest operating systems to access the latest features and updates. You can configure your virtual machine to automatically check for and apply VMware Tools upgrades each time you power on your virtual machines. For information about enabling automatic upgrade of VMware Tools on your virtual machines, see vSphere Virtual Machine Administration Guide