Mar 232008

Solution 1

Windows 2008 Server Core benefits from VMware Tools, even though the GUI is mostly just a commandline. The most important benefit is the VMware enhanced mouse driver. This allows you to move the mouse in and out of the VM without having to to press the Ctrl-Alt release sequence.

Installing VMware Tools is a bit tricky, though, because there’s no shell to integrate into. Here’s how to install VMware Tools on Server Core:

* Log into your Windows Server 2008 Server Core VM with an admin account
* From the VMware Workstation console, click the VM menu Install VMware Tools. This will mount the VMware Tools disk in the virtual CD-Rom drive.
* From the command line, switch to drive D: (or whatever drive is your CD drive)
* Type Setup and press Enter
* Click Install to the VMware informational message. The VMware Tools will begin to setup.
* Click Next to install
* Click Next to perform a Typical setup
* Click Install to begin the installation
* When you see the status stall, open Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Ins Start Task Manager)
* Click the Applications tab, select the RUNDLL process and choose End Task
* Close Task Manager and click OK to any error messages. Setup will continue as normal.
* Click Finish and click Yes to restart the server

When Windows Server 2008 Server Core starts up, it will be in 640×480 resolution. Read my next blog post to explain how to configure the resolution in Windows 2008 Server Core.

Solution 2

VMware Tools on Server Core by first mounting the VMware Tools ISO by selecting the “Install VMware Tools” option, then issuing:

msiexec /i “d:\VMware Tools.msi” /qn

in the console window.

Solution 3

For those unfamiliar with Server Core it is a command line only version of Windows Server 2008. On the GUI version of Windows 2008 server, VMWare tools must be installed to get the NIC working. Server Core however is command line only. VMWareTools is a GUI installation so this is not an option for Server Core.

The workaround is to transfer VMWareTools (contained in a file called windows.iso) from your ESX server to a local drive. This can be done using Winscp. Use Virtual Center to mount the windows.iso file as a CDROM drive in the Server Core VM. The driver files are located in \Program Files\VMWare\VMWare Tools\Drivers\VMXNet\w2k of the windows.iso file. The command used to install the drivers is

C:\Windows\System32>pnputil -i -a vmxnet.inf

Microsoft PnP Utility
Processing inf : vmxnet.inf
Successfully installed the driver on a device on the system.
Driver package added successfully.
Published name : oem2.inf

Next check the installation of the driver. Vmxnet should be displayed near the end of the list.


ws2ifsl Winsock IFS driver Kernel 23/03/2007 04:52:40
vmxnet VMware Ethernet Adapte Kernel 22/04/2006 23:13:11

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  2 Responses to “Howto Install VMware Tools on Windows 2008 Server Core”

  1. What’s up guys… I’m having some problems installing VMWare tools in a windows 2008 server. Every time that i click on install VMware tools it gives me an error message saying: ” Internal error operational ” something about guest operational system is not runing, i dont know how to solve this problem, if there is someone that can help me i’ll be greatfull!

  2. On Windows Server 2008 R2 Core you should you for Solution 2 this way:

    msiexec /i“d:\VMware Tools64.msi” /qn

    Thanks a lot.

    Yours Ulrich :-)

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