How to install VMWare Tools on PC-BSD 8?

Ok, so I wanted to see if there was much of a difference between installing VMWare-tools on FreeBSD 8 with Xorg and KDE as on PC-BSD 8. It was my guess that the steps would be next to exactly the same, but maybe there is something different.

See my previous article on this:
How to install VMWare-tools on FreeBSD 8?

Details: I am running VMWare Workstation 6.5 on Windows 7.

In VMWare, I clicked VM | Install VMWare tools.

The virtual media automounted in KDE.

I copied the vmware-freebsd-tools.tar.gz to the desktop.

I opened a shell, and su’ed to root.

The package for compat6x-amd64 was already installed.

I ran these commands to extract the vmware-freebsd-tools.tar.gz file.

cp /home/jared/Desktop/vmware-freebsd-tools.tar.gz /tmp
cd /tmp
tar -xzf vmware-freebsd-tools.tar.gz
cd vmware-tools-distrib

I ran the vmware tools installer.


I accepted all the defaults and there were no problems.

So I decided to do the Autostart a different way…and it worked too.

I right-clicked on the icon in the bottom left (normally is the K icon but instead it is the PC-BSD flame) and I choose Menu Editor.

I clicked New Submenu, named it VMWare and hit OK.
I selected the newly created Submenu.
I clicked New Item.
I added an item for /usr/local/bin/vmware-user.
I added an item for /usr/local/bin/vmware-user-wrapper.
I added an item for /usr/local/bin/vmware-toolbox (and under Advanced, I changed this to run as root)
I saved and exited.
I went to System Settings.
I clicked the Advanced tab.
I double-clicked Autostart.
I clicked Add program.
I added the vmware-user-wrapper item that I just added to the Menu.
I rebooted.

Mouse auto-grab, Copy and paste, auto-fit guest, all appear to work well.

Copyright ® – Linking to this article is allowed without permission and as many as ten lines of this article can be used along with this link. Any other use of this article is allowed only by permission of


  1. Lorenzo says:

    Thanks for the effort, but this didn't work for PC BSD 9, and it destroy my install again. I am not a technical linux guy. Deleting and looking other distribution. 🙁

  2. HW says:

    Thanks for publishing accurate and useful info on out-of-the-mainstream FreeBSD topics... sadly there isn't more of it available. I'm new to FreeBSD and am attempting to run it under VMware to make looking up problems on the web easier than if I were dual-booting (I only have one machine), but the downside is it essentially means I am trying to learn two things at once, and introduces multiple variables that might not otherwise be there.

    I have a couple of comments and questions.

    When you say "auto-fit guest," do you mean that FreeBSD fills the complete screen inside VMware without scroll bars and at a slightly reduced resolution? For example, on my laptop with native 1280x800, it would be something like 1153x760. I thought that wasn't supported by VMware for FreeBSD guests. I would appreciate any other suggestions you have for getting auto-fit to work.

    My problem is that I had FreeBSD 6.4 running perfectly, including "drag and drop" and "copy and paste" but without auto-fit (using xfce4, the best resolution I could get was 1024x768), and decided to do a new install of 8.2 rather than attempting a binary upgrade.

    When I try and install VMware-Tools and run the script, I get an error message saying there are no drivers for Xorg 7.6.5 and the install aborts before generating an xorg.conf file even though I installed both xf86-video-vmware and xf86-input-vmmouse as ports. I also ran the xorg-drivers meta-port with "make config" but still get the same error. Any suggestions?

    For the record, I have built everything from ports using the defaults, rather than using packages. I also tried using open-vm-tools, but cannot get "drag and drop" or "copy and paste" to work, and of course, can't make auto-fit work either.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Rhyous says:

      When you say "auto-fit guest,"...

      - Yes, it does fill the whole screen. It worked for 8.0 and 8.1 on my Lenovo laptop and both my home and work VMWare Workstation boxes. However, I haven't put 8.2 on yet because I switched my Lenovo Laptop to a dual-boot configuration.

      There are no drivers for Xorg 7.6.5

      - You may have to install the VMWare Video driver from ports.

      I have never used open-vm-tools, so I can't say if they are better. I will try to get time to install PC-BSD 8.2 and see what is up with the VMWare drivers.

      • HW says:

        Thank you very much for the prompt reply.

        1) I can get full-screen to work with no VMware Workstation or Player borders around it... I was asking if by "auto-fit guest" you meant automatic sizing within those windows.

        2) Does this mean I need to uninstall xorg and install an earlier version? If so, would you know what the last supported version is and what is the way to build that specific version from ports, or failing that, how to add that package?

        I have been building everything from ports, including the VMware video driver and not installing via packages. I forgot to add, if it is important for you to have full information, that I am running Windows Vista x64 Edition 6.0.6002, Service Pack 2 (I know! I know!), Workstation 7.1.4 build-385536 and Player 3.1.4 build-385536 on a Toshiba M305D-S4830 with 4 gig of memory.

        Thanks again for your help.

        • HW says:

          Hello again,

          My apologies... I realized right after I posted my last comment that I should have asked you how I go about finding those things for myself rather than asking you to spoon-feed me. Would you mind telling me how I go about finding out what is the last Xorg version that there are VMware drivers for, and how to find information on building an older version than is currently in ports, or if I have to, install an older package?

          Again, thanks for you help.

          • Rhyous says:

            Yeah, I haven't gotten to it. Basically I would check ports. I think it is something like /usr/ports/x11-drivers, but I am not on a freebsd box at the moment..

          • HW says:

            Thanks again for your help. I tried compiling both the xorg meta driver port with the VMware driver options configured and the separate VMware drivers port. I even tried looking through the Vmware Tools configuration script to see if I could find anything, although I suspected that would be beyond my abilities. At this point, I am unsure where else to look or what else to do.

          • HW says:

            Hello again,

            I am writing to let you know how I have managed to partially solve my problem in the hope it may be of use to you, and to thank you again for your help.

            I have got open-vm-tools working as root, but am having trouble with my regular account, which makes me think it is a permissions problem. By "working," I mean I can drag and drop and copy and paste to and from the host Vista x64 machine.

            I looked at a couple of configuration files I had saved from when I had 6x working with Wmware-Tools and discovered a couple of differences:

            1) VMware-Tools uses /usr/local/bin/vmware-user, while open-vm-tools uses /usr/local/bin/vmware-user-suid-wrapper, which I suspect is what is giving my regular user account the problem, because I infer "suid" stands for super user ID. (Note that I am a member of the wheel group.)

            2) There are driver differences: A) VMware-Tools uses the "vmware" video driver, while open-vm-tools uses the "vmwlegacy" video driver. (I still find it odd that installing the latest VMware drivers (xf86-video-vmware and xf86-input-vmmouse) still invokes a error saying that there are no drivers for Xorg. I looked through the VMware-Tools configuration script which generates the error but couldn't find the source of it. **I just had a thought as I am writing this -- maybe it is in the installation script, which I will check.**); B) VMware-Tools uses the "keyboard" driver, while open-vm-tools uses the "kbd" driver; C) VMware-Tools uses the "vmmouse" driver, while open-vm-tools uses the "mouse" driver. (I tried using the "vmware," "keyboard," and "vmmouse" drivers with open-vm-tools just to see what would happen, but couldn't make drag and drop or copy and paste work with them, although I may have made some other error, and I didn't properly log the process properly to ensure I could repeat it.)

            C) Video resolution: Under 6x, the vmware driver did not give me all the options I have under open-vm-tools using the vmwlegacy driver.

            So basically, under the root account, everything works satisfactorily enough, while under my own user account I am still having trouble. I have no problem running the guest at full screen (1280 x800), which I was able to do as well under 6x and VMware-Tools, and I wonder if by "autofit" you mean running at full screen instead of running the guest at a slightly lower resolution, which is how I take the word, and which VMware says is unsupported for FreeBSD. That would be a resolution of 1152 x 768 on my machine, just like a Windows guest. Under the xfce4 display configuration options there are resolutions of 1152 x 864 and 1280 x 768, which makes me wonder if I can use a custom mode line.

            So there you have it. Sorry for the book-length post. Thanks again.

  3. Frank says:

    I'd rather suggest to install the Open Virtual Machine Tools on FreeBSD/PCBSD. They've proven to be stable and are in the ports:

    • rhyous says:

      I will have to find time to try them and write a post on it. So far I only have one issue with the VMWare licensed version:

      When RDPed into the Host, while moving my mouse in PC-BSD, the paste action occurs at random.

  4. J. L. says:

    Thank you for writing this detailed guide. I was having problems installing Vmware Tools on PC-BSD and your guide really helped.

Leave a Reply

How to post code in comments?