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VMware: Installing VMware Tools through Active Directory

Today I was playing with automatic installation of VMware Tools by using Active Directory Group Policy and Security Groups on my Windows 2008 test environment.

What did I do to realize the automated installation:

– Create a Security Group in AD called: “SW_VMware Tools 64-Bit”

– Create in Group Policy Management a new GPO called “SW_VMware Tools 64-Bit”

– Computer Configuration > Software Settings > Software Installation> New > package

– Select from shared location (in my case: \\VMPROS-DC01\Software Deployment\ ) “VMware Tools64.msi”

– In the security tab: VMware Tools 64-Bit need read rights


–  Now you need to link to Security Group: SW_VMware Tools 64-Bit to the GPO, in the Group Policy Management: Security Filder > Add: “SW_VMware Tools 64-Bit”

– Settings on the GPO: enable Link Enabled + Enforced

– Add some (64-Bit) servers to the Security Group:


– Replicate the domain controllers with “Active Directory Sites and Services”

– Reboot or do “gpupdate /force” command, and VMware Tools 64 Bit will be installed:


VMware Tools are installed perfectly 🙂

Why do you want install VMware Tools with a GPO?

– Using customized VMware Tools for Terminal Servers;

– Update is faster because you need to replace one .msi file;

– Using multiple ESX 3 and 4 hosts in separate clusters connected to one domain;

– You can mix some VMware Tools Build numbers (not recommended but it’s possible);

– You don’t need to reboot directly, you can schedule this;

More information about the configured GPO klick here


Sander Daems is founder and author of this blog and working as a Lead (Sr.) Consultant by UNICA ICT Solutions. Sander has over 15 years experience in IT, primary focus: virtualization and modern worksplace.

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  1. May 4th, 2010  (Quote) at 00:55  (Quote) | #1

    I like this method for installing VMware Tools, but had a suggestion that might make it even better. If you are using Windows 2003 or higher, you can leverage WMI filtering on the group policy. If you create a new WMI filter using the default namespace of “root\CIMv2” with this query:

    SELECT * FROM Win32_ComputerSystem where Manufacturer = “VMware, Inc.”

    the installation will only apply to VMware Virtual Machines.

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