VMware Tools are an optional set of drivers and utilities that improve the performance and manageability of virtual machines. VMware Tools is different from other upgrades and add-ons because it is not a single application. It is a group of services and software drivers that greatly improve the user experience of VMware virtual machines. VMware Tools is installed directly on guest operating systems to improve their performance and functionality, including video resolution, mouse operations, and other important interface operations.
VMware Tools to the Rescue
The installation of VMware tools will help with the following issues found in guest operating systems on vSphere:
Inadequate video resolution and color depth
• Network speed display errors
• Mouse movement issues
• A lack of copy/paste and drag/drop capabilities
• Faulty sound
What Does VMware Tools Come With?
Let’s take a look at what you get when you install VMware Tools to improve virtual machine and guest OS performance. Installing VMware Tools provide the following add-ons and services:
• VMware Tools Service
This program performs several important tasks on the guest operating systems of both Windows and Linux machines, including:
◦ Passing messages from the host OS to the guest OS
◦ Sending a heartbeat to a VMware Server
◦ Synchronizes time in the guest OS with the host OS
◦ Power state initiated automation scripts
◦Video resolution and mouse operation improvements on Windows guests
• VMware Device Drivers
These drivers help improve mouse functionality, video displays, and network operations in the guest OS. They include:
◦ SVGA video display driver for higher resolution and faster performing graphics
◦ vmxnet networking driver
◦ BusLogic SCSI driver
◦ VMware mouse driver
◦ The ability to utilize shared folders in Windows, Linux, and Solaris
• VMware User Processes
VMware Tools user processes help to improve the usability of the guest OS environment. It includes:
◦ Copy and paste functionality between guest and host operating systems
◦ Drag and drop functionality between guest and host operating systems
◦ Video resolution and mouse operation improvements on Linux and Solaris guests
• VMware Tools Control Panel
The VMware Tools control panel adds essential control functions for virtual machines. Installing VMware Tools control panel provides virtual machines with additional control functions that enable users to , modify settings, connect/disconnect virtual devices, and decrease the size of virtual disks.
As you can see, VMware tools gives you significant enhancements to the speed, efficiency, and usability of your guest machines. Even though it isn’t absolutely necessary to install VMware tools, it is recommended that you install them in all VMware virtual machines. Without VMware tools, your guest machine performance will lack important functionality that greatly improves the vSphere user experience and guest OS performance.
Guest content by Josh Stein on behalf of Confio Software, a leader in VMware tools and performance improvement.