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, many VMware features are not available until you install VMware Tools. For example, 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.

If you are using VMware Fusion, Player, or Workstation, you can use the Windows Easy Install or Linux Easy Install feature to install VMware Tools as soon as the operating system is finished installing.

The installers for VMware Tools are ISO image files. An ISO image file looks like a CD-ROM to your guest operating system. There is an ISO image file for each type of guest operating system, including Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, and NetWare. When you select the command to install or upgrade VMware Tools, the virtual machine’s first virtual CD-ROM disk drive temporarily connects to the VMware Tools ISO file for your guest operating system.

If you are using VMware Fusion, Player, or Workstation, the most recent versions of the ISO files are stored on a VMware Web site. When you select the command to install or upgrade VMware Tools, the VMware product determines whether it has downloaded the most recent version of the ISO file for the specific operating system. If the latest version has not been downloaded or if no VMware Tools ISO file for that operating system has ever been downloaded, you are prompted to download the file.

The installation procedure varies, depending on the operating system.