How to Install VMWare Tools in Windows on VMWare Fusion for Mac

May 27, 2024 - 1 Comment

Installing VMWare Tools offers additional features and capabilities in VMWare including easy sharing options

VMWare Tools is an optional toolkit to install into a Windows virtual machine in VMWare that allows you to have easier sharing of files between the host Mac operating system and the Windows virtual machine, as well as some other useful features like time syncing between host and client, being able to pass data back and forth between the host and client, additional customization options, and more.

VMWare Tools isn’t necessary to simply run a VM, and it’s not needed for everyone, but advanced users, or those who want to have easy options to share files between a Windows VM and the host MacOS might particularly appreciate these features, and want them installed in VMWare Fusion on their VM.

We’ll show you two ways to install VMWare Tools into a Windows VM in VMWare; using the easy installer, and by installing it manually by ISO file.

How to Install VMWare Tools in Windows on VMWare Fusion for Mac

This tutorial is going to assume that you have already installed Windows 11 into VMWare Fusion on your Mac, and that now you want to install VMWare Tools into that Windows VM.

  1. Open VMWare Fusion if you have not done so already
  2. Start your Windows Virtual Machine as usual
  3. After Windows has booted in the VM and you’re logged in, go to the “Virtual Machine” menu and select “Install VMWare Tools”
  4. How to Install VMWare Tools in VMWare Fusion

  5. Select “Install” when asked
  6. Install VMWare Tools

  7. Choose to run setup.exe from the VMWare Tools disk image that has been mounted in Windows
  8. Run Setup EXE on VMWare Tools

  9. Allow VMWare Tools to install by selecting “Yes” when asked if it can modify your system
  10. Allow VMWare Tools to install

  11. Go through the standard Windows application installation process, configuring as necessary for your VM
  12. VMWare Tools install process

  13. Let VMWare Tools install
  14. VMWare Tools installing

  15. When finished installing VMWare Tools, the virtual machine with Windows will need to restart to complete installation and be usable in the VM
  16. Restart the VM to finish installation of VMWare Tools

After the VM restarts, you will have full access to the VMWare Tools feature set, including easy folder sharing capabilities.

How to Manually Install VMWare Tools by ISO

The simplest way to install VMWare Tools into Windows on VMWare Fusion on a Mac is by using the above menu method, but you can also install it manually by using an ISO file if the simple way doesn’t work for some reason or another.

  1. From the Finder in MacOS, hit Command+Shift+G and enter the following path:
  2. /Applications/VMware Fusion.app/Contents/Library/isoimages/

  3. Select the architecture type your Mac is using (arm64 is Apple Silicon and what we’re using here, x86 is Intel)
  4. Copy the “windows.iso” file here to the Desktop on the Mac (this is not a Windows 11 ISO, it’s the VMWare Tools ISO, if you do need a Windows 11 ISO for some reason you can get one here)
  5. Go to VMWare Fusion and access the Settings for your Windows VM, and choose CD/DVD Settings
  6. Make sure that “Enable CD/DVD Drive” is turned on, then select “Choose a disc or disc image” from the dropdown menu
  7. Navigate to the Mac desktop to select the ‘windows.iso’ VMWare Tools ISO file you copied there a moment ago
  8. Run the installer in Windows as usual

It doesn’t matter if you install VMWare Tools through the automated installer via the Virtual Machine window, or manually by the ISO, the result is that VMWare Tools will be installed in the Windows VM, and you’ll have the additional features and sharing capabilities that it offers.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks

One Comment

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  1. John Paterson says:

    Great article and solved my problem. I had just installed Windows 11 into VMware Fusion pro. Copy from Mac to the VM and drag and drop files was not working despite being set properly in tools.

    Doing the manual reinstall solve my issue. Thanks much.

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