VMware Tools is a suite of utilities that enhances the performance of the virtual machine’s guest operating system and improves management of the virtual machine.

Although the guest operating system can run without VMware Tools, you lose important functionality and convenience. If you do not have VMware Tools installed in your virtual machine, you cannot use the shutdown or restart options from the toolbar. You can use only the power options. Shut down the guest operating system from the virtual machine console before you power off the virtual machine.

The installers for VMware Tools for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Solaris, and NetWare guest operating systems are built into ESX/ESXi as ISO image files. An ISO image file looks like a CD-ROM to your guest operating system and even appears as a CD-ROM disc. You do not use an actual CD-ROM disc to install VMware Tools, nor do you need to download the CD-ROM image or burn a physical CD-ROM of this image file.

When you install VMware Tools, VMware vCenter Server temporarily connects the virtual machine’s first virtual CD-ROM disk drive to the ISO image file that contains the VMware Tools installer for your guest operating system. You are ready to begin the installation process.

When you upgrade VMware Tools, the software completely uninstalls and reinstalls the VMware Tools package. For this reason, some functionality such as networking might temporarily stop working in the middle of the upgrade procedure. The functionality is restored at the end of the upgrade procedure.