Deployment Tips – How to deploy VMware Tools using Microsoft Configuration Manager

In this short blog I want to show one of the possibilities how to deploy VMware Tools on Windows systems, namely using Microsoft Configuration Manager (aka ConfigMgr aka SCCM aka Microsoft Endpoint Manager).

We need to deploy VMware Tools on each Window system running on the ESXi, and also on VMware Workstation or Fusion. There are multiple ways to deploy VMware Tools either from vCenter console or from within a VM itself or using 3-d party automation tools. While Server/Virtualization teams prefer to create and maintain Windows OS templates using their tools of choice, the Desktop/Frontend teams quite often rely on Microsoft Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr for short) which is a wildly adopted Enterprise Device Management solution with large footprint at a lot of our customers.


This article assumes:

Get VMware Tools

Download latest version of VMware Tools from:

Side note – the latest available version on the OSP package repository might be slightly older then on Customer Connect.

You can choose to download ZIP file containing the installer for your specific processor architecture or a ZIP file containing ISO file which includes both x86 and x64 installers.

Customer Connect downloads
OSP repository

I’m used to work with ISO file because it fits most use cases and in this blog I will be using ISO file with VMware Tools version 12.1.5 obtained from Customer Connect.

Extract VMware tools

Follow this steps to extract the downloaded content:

step 1 – download ZIP file containing the ISO

step 2 – extract ISO file from ZIP

step 3 – extract contents of the ISO to a folder, for example C:\Temp\VMware\Tools

extracted binaries

step 4 – copy contents of C:\Temp\VMware\Tools\Windows to the file share which contains your ConfigMgr application sources. In this article we use UNC path \\\SCCM\Applications\VMware Tools 12.1.5

Create Configuration Manager Application

Application pre-requisites

Before we can actually create the application in Configuration Manager we need to do two things:

  • create and validate silent installation command line
  • get MSI GUID which we will use as detection method

Silent installer

VMware provides good overview of silent installation parameters on VMware Docs, you can tailor installation parameters for your own environment.

The basic command line will look like:

setup.exe /S /v “/qn REBOOT=R ADDLOCAL=ALL”

  • REBOOT=R makes sure that system reboot will be supressed
  • ADDLOCAL=ALL deploys VMware Tools including all components

for this article I’ll use the following command line:

setup.exe /s /v”/qn REBOOT=R /l*v “”%WINDIR%\Logs\%COMPUTERNAME%-vmwaretools.log”” ADDLOCAL=ALL”

It will install all components, write verbose installation log to C:\Windows\Logs and suspend system reboot.

Please note – I’m using setup.exe and not setup64.exe. The reason is quite simple – on the 64-bit systems it will automatically launch setup64.exe, but using setup.exe eliminates the necessity to create distinct commands for 32-bit and 64-bit systems.


We need to retrieve MSI GUID which we’ll use to create detection rule for Configuration Manager deployment type.

Install VMware Tools on a test VM either using silent install from the previous part or manually running setup.exe and open Regedit on that test VM.

Navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall and search for VMware Tools

The MSI GUID for this version of VMware Tools is {65A35679-0C08-4C9A-9AC3-46417F198653}. Copy this GUID as we’ll need it a few steps later.

The other way to find MSI GUID is to run setup.exe with /A parameter, for example

setup.exe /A c:\drivers\extracted /s /v/qn

After executing the above command the contents of the installer will be extracted to the folder C:\Drivers\Extracted.

If you look in the C:\Drivers\Extracted folder, you’ll notice a MSI file in the format of {GUID}.msi. like for example

and this is the GUID we are looking for :D.

Create VMware Tools application

We’ve got all required components like application installer, silent command line and MSI GUID and now we can proceed with creating the application itself.

Launch Application Creation Wizard

Select “Manually specify the application information” and click on Next

Specify required information like application name, publisher and version

On this page we can specify information which will be visible for the users in the Software Center.

Set the application name as you want the users to see it and click on “Browse…” to import application icon

Navigate to the share with ConfigMgr application sources where you saved extracted installer, in this example \\\SCCM\Applications\VMware Tools 12.1.5, and double click on the ICO file.

The VMware icon has been imported. Click on Next to proceed.

Click on Add to create a deployment type for VMware Tools application.

Select “Manually specify the deployment information” and click on Next

Give deployment type a name and click on Next.

Please note – make sure you use good descriptive name as this is the name you’ll see in ConfigMgr client logs, because when you use the same name for other deployment types you won’t be happy if you’ll need to find out which application is actually failing đŸ˜‰

Fill in the content information:

Content location – UNC path to the share with ConfigMgr application sources where you saved extracted installer, in this example \\\SCCM\Applications\VMware Tools 12.1.5

Installation program – the silent installer command line you’ve previously tested. In this example it is setup.exe /s /v”/qn REBOOT=R /l*v “”%WINDIR%\Logs\%COMPUTERNAME%-vmwaretools.log”” ADDLOCAL=ALL”

Uninstall program – MsiExec.exe /x {MSI GUID} /q, where MSI GUID is the GUID you’ve retreived from the registry after installing this version of VMware Tools. For example MsiExec.exe /x {65A35679-0C08-4C9A-9AC3-46417F198653} /q

Click on Next

On detection method page click on “Add Clause…”

In detection rule window choose:

Setting Type – Windows Installer

Product code – MSI GUID. This is again the GUID which was extracted from the registry.

and click on OK

Note – I prefer using Windows Installer whenever possible as in my experience it is most reliable detection method.

Click on Next

Configure user experience settings

Installation behavior – Install for system

Logon requirement – Whether or not a user is logged on

Installation program visibility – Normal

Note – these settings are mandatory if you want to use this application in OS Deployment Task Sequence.

Click on Summary as we don’t need to specify requirements or dependencies in this example.

Review summary information and complete Deployment Type creation wizard.

Click on Summary to complete Application creation wizard.

VMware Tools application has been created. Now you can send it to the Distribution Points and use in OS Deployment Task Sequences or deploy to device collections.

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