If you're running Kali Linux inside a VMware virtual machine, installing the VMware Tools software will help you get the most out of the system. VMware Tools will give the machine more capabilities, such as a shared clipboard with the host system, drag and drop file transfer, and automatic window resizing.

This makes copying data to and from a host system much more convenient. It also changes the VM's resolution automatically when its window is resized, so you don't need to change it manually. VMware Tools will work with just about any Linux distribution, but instructions can differ because of dependencies and package managers. Normally, Kali will automatically detect what platform the operating system has been installed on, and will include VMware Tools (if applicable) by default. If yours isn't working or you just need to know how to use the features, we've got you covered in this guide.

In this guide, we'll be going over the step by step instructions to get VMware Tools installed on Kali Linux. With these instructions, it doesn't matter what host system you're using, as long as the virtual machine is running Kali. This guide assumes that you've already installed Kali in the VM correctly.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to install VMware Tools on Kali Linux
Installing VMware Tools on Kali Linux
Installing VMware Tools on Kali Linux
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Kali Linux
Software VMware Tools
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Install VMware Tools

Make sure your Kali virtual machine is powered on. Then, follow along with the steps below to install VMware Tools.

  1. Before starting, we need to make sure that Kali is up to date and has all new versions of software installed. Type the following commands in terminal to prepare the system.
    $ sudo apt update
    $ sudo apt full-upgrade
    $ sudo apt -y autoremove
    
  2. You should now be able to use Kali's apt package manager to install VMware Tools. Type the following command in terminal.
    $ sudo apt install open-vm-tools-desktop fuse
    

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    If the output tells you that the package is already installed, but you've observed that it's not working, you can reinstall it with the following command.
    $ sudo apt install -y --reinstall open-vm-tools-desktop fuse
    
  3. VMware Tools will now be installed, then it's required to restart the VM in order to enjoy the benefits.
    $ reboot
    

That's all there is to it. When Kali finishes loading back up, you'll be able to utilize the shared clipboard, drag and drop function, and automatic resolution resizing. You can configure additional settings related to VMware Tools under Manage > Virtual Machine Settings > Options > VMware Tools.

Settings menu for VMware Tools
Settings menu for VMware Tools

Closing Thoughts

In this guide, we saw how to install VMware Tools on a Kali Linux VM. VMware Tools makes virtual machines much easier to use. Although Kali usually includes the software by default, this doesn't always work perfectly in the real world. You now know how to manually install the software, as well as control its other features from inside the VMware menus.

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