How to install the vmware video card driver on a FreeBSD 8 guest virtual machine?

Well, I have documentation on how to create a FreeBSD 8 Desktop environment here:
How to install and configure a FreeBSD 8 Desktop with Xorg and KDE?

However, if you install FreeBSD as a VMWare guest, you will want to install two additional pieces of software when you are finished:

  1. You need to install the VMWare X11 driver (no, it will not be installed when you install the VMWare tools)
  2. You need to install VMWare-tools

This guide is to walk you through resolving the first of these two issues. I assume you followed my article for building the FreeBSD desktop, and if you did, these steps will work for you. But if you didn’t, I can’t guarantee that there won’t be some steps that are slightly different for you.

Part 1 – Installing and Configuring the VMWare X11 Driver

Step 1 – Install the VMWare X11 driver

  1. Change to the appropriate ports directory.

    # cd /usr/ports/x11-drivers/xf86-video-vmware

  2. Make (compile) and install the VMWare X11 driver

    # make install

The VMWare X11 driver is now installed.

Step 2 – Modify the /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Note: If you didn’t create an xorg.conf file, then you don’t need to do this step, so skip it.

  1. If you auto-created your xorg.conf, auto create it again.
    # Xorg -configure
  2. Move the auto created /root/ to /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

    # mv /root/ /etc/X11/xorg.conf

If you have a custom xorg.conf, then it may be easier to edit it manually.

  1. Edit the /etc/x11/xorg.conf as root.

    # ee /etc/x11/xorg.conf

  2. Change the “Device” section to look as follows.
    Section "Device"
            ### Available Driver options are:-
            ### Values: <i>: integer, <f>: float, <bool>: "True"/"False",
            ### <string>: "String", <freq>: "<f> Hz/kHz/MHz"
            ### [arg]: arg optional
            #Option     "HWcursor"                  # [<bool>]
            #Option     "Xinerama"                  # [<bool>]
            #Option     "StaticXinerama"            # <str>
            Identifier  "Card0"
            Driver      "vmware"
            VendorName  "VMware"
            BoardName   "SVGA II Adapter"
            BusID       "PCI:0:15:0"

Step 3 – Restart Xorg
If you are still in KDE, you must logout and log back in. You can probably do this without instructions, but if this is your first time using FreeBSD and KDE 4, a quick screen shot of how to do this won’t hurt. I do like my walk-thru’s to be newbie proof.

  1. At the bottom left of your window, click on the K icon, then Leave, then Logout.

  2. After clicking the Leave option, KDE will exit, and xorg will restart and you should be returned to the login screen. Now log back in.

Note: If you aren’t using KDM, then you will be returned to your logged in shell and you will have to launch Xorg and KDE yourself using the startx command.
Step 4 – Configure your screen resolution

  1. Click the K icon, then Applications | System.
  2. When the menu shifts, the system options appears. Select Screen Resize & Rotate.

  3. Now don’t be confused when this doesn’t open a window. It does launch the program, but for some reason it starts up minimized and is an icon at the bottom right of the panel. It looks like a little monitor (the red arrow is pointing to it).
  4. Click on the monitor icon to get the Configure Display window.
  5. Click the Size drop down menu and choose your new resolution.
  6. Click Apply.
  7. If the resolution fails, it should return to the previous resolution after about ten or fifteen seconds. If the resolution works, click the option to accept the resolution.

You should now have the VMWare Driver installed.

Part 2 – Installing and Configuring VMWare Tools

This is in a separate post here:
How to install VMWare-tools on FreeBSD 8?

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  1. p mobile s2 says:

    p mobile s2

    How to install the vmware video card driver on a FreeBSD 8 guest virtual machine? | Rhyous

  2. Ceyhun says:

    Great article. I've just installed VMware tools in FreeBSD 9.1. I recorded the session. You can watch it on youtube

  3. Thomas says:


    thanks for the howto!

    Using PCBSD 9.0 there is a problem why this stops working.
    When running the start it says:
    Switching to guest configuration: done
    Guest memory manager: failed
    Blocking file system: failed
    Guest operating system daemon: done
    Unable to start services for VMware Tools

    Execution aborted.

    Any changes with FreeBSD 9.0?

    Thanks for any hints!

  4. freebsd_rules says:

    Ok, I added this X conf part below and got keyboard input, I can now navigate around Xfce4 with keyboard only - however still no mouse! X is using /dev/sysmouse (supposedly).

    Section "ServerFlags"
    Option "AllowEmptyInput" "False"

  5. freebsd_rules says:

    Just installed freebsd 8.2 from the .iso as guest using vmware player 3.1.4 build-385536 (recently installed from vmware's site). Installed xfce4. Host is WinXP. Did all of the above. Also installed the /usr/ports for vmware mouse driver. Mouse is not working, maybe keyboard not working as well. Video seems to come up; only thing I see is the X error window regarding hostname, with button options "Continue anyway" and "Try again". No keyboard or mouse input works, so can't go any further.

    Additional note. When I install the vmware tools (mounted from vmware's iso, vmware tools "version 8.4.6 for FreeBSD") and run it, it says "No X found". Not sure why, since X is clearly installed. `which X` returns '/usr/local/bin/X'. ...Now... If I hack their perl script to correct where it somehow doesn't find X, then it complains "No drivers for Xorg X server version: 1.7.7 Skipping X configuration because X drivers are not included."

  6. datnt says:

    Thank you for your post.

    Only to comment: Edit the /etc/x11/xorg.conf as root.
    x11 should be changed to X11.
    I am also a newbie so that I think this would help other.

  7. Prof.Yeow says:

    i will try do this night.

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