Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ESXi 4.1 Unable to install / upgrade VMware Tools on Guest OS

Recently I was trying to upgrade vmware tools on a windows 2008 guest and I got an error

"Unable to install VMware Tools. An error occurred while trying to access image file "/usr/lib/vmware/isoimages/windows.iso" needed to install VMware Tools: 2 (No such file or directory). If your product shipped with the VMware Tools package, reinstall VMware ESX, then try again to install the VMware Tools package in the virtual machine.   The required VMware Tools ISO image does not exist or is inaccessible."

Further investigation through remote tech support into the ESXi host I found that the iso image is missing from the directory and the directory is 100% full, which must be the reason for not installing the tool images. I found that old tool images are not removed from the system and as a result while upgrading , its not able to copy the new images due to file system full.

I guess this issue is due to a upgrade from esxi4 u1 to esxi4.1. Somehow the upgrade didnt went well or some other issue. But the ESXi server is up and running and hosting more than 100 vms. I dont want to reinstall the ESXi on the host. ESXi 4.1 comes with resmote tech support , no need to go through unsupported way anymore

I fix the issue by copying the image file from a working ESXi4.1 server.

1) Start the remote tech support (SSH), Click on the ESXi host on the left panel, go to configuration ,
on the software section click on Security profile, Click properties on the right top corner, click remote
tech support and click option and start the ssh.

2) Use putty to ssh into the ESXi host and delete the old images files from the below location


3) Using winscp to copy files to the ESXi host location, provided you already copy the image files from a working ESXi 4.1 server to the laptop/desktop. Copy to below location:


4) Copy the  .iso, .sig and tools-key.pub. files, because all these files required if you want to upgrade the vmware tools.

Thats its close the winscp, putty and Dont forget to stop the remore tech support(SSH). Now right click on the VM ->guest -> Install/upgrade  vmware tools.

There is another way where you can copy the iso image (windows.iso) to the local datastore and mount the iso image and start the installation. This you have to mount and umount the iso image each time for every VMs. If you have only few VMs this will be easy way but tedious for 100 VMs.


  1. I did extracted the tools from

    since I didn't have a working 4.1
    Thank you

  2. Thanks Alessio for the information, I was wondering where I will get the tools other than from a working system.

  3. thnx a lot for providing the info...

    below are the steps i used as workaround

    1. Removed the soft link from ESXi host of Cluster * (cmd to use “rm isoimages”)

    2. Copy the VMware tool folder from Cluster * through winSCP. (/vmfs/volumes/**********/packages/4.1.0/vmtools)

    3. Paste the VMwaretool on one of the datastore from Cluster *. (“DS name ***”)

    4. Created soft link for new VMwaretool version. (cmd to use “ln –s /vmfs/volumes/**********/4.1.0/vmtools /usr/lib/vmware/isoimages”)

    5. After creating soft link we are able to map the VMwaretool on VM from that particular ESXi host.

    6. Same thing needs to be done on all ESXi host within Cluster ** with same map location.