Using an older version of VMWare Tools

Lost enough time with this already so I'll be short. First of all, yes, sometimes the latest version of the VMWare Tools can fail and you want to downgrade. I'm looking at you VMWare Tools 8.8.0 from VMWare Player 4.0.0 using a Windows 2000 image! And as you may have already found out, when that occurs, the VMWare Software as well as the VMWare community are less than helpful.

In case you're running the VMWare Player on Windows, to emulate another Windows virtual platform, here's what you should know:
  1. After they are downloaded by the Player, the VMWare tools are installed, as a windows.iso file, in your VMWare installation directory (typically C:\Program Files (x86)\VMWare\VMWare Player\). It is that ISO image that is mounted in the virtual machine during installation.
  2. You can obtain older versions of the VMWare Tools by navigating the not-intended-for-users VMWare Software Update directory, starting at http://softwareupdate.vmware.com/cds/vmw-desktop/player/.
  3. The VMWare Tools download is then found in <version>/<build>/windows/packages/ (eg. http://softwareupdate.vmware.com/cds/vmw-desktop/player/3.1.5/491717/windows/packages/ )
  4. Of course the download is not provided as an ISO, because that would be too easy. Instead, it's a tar of an exe that silently extracts and copies (overwrites) a new windows.iso in the VMWare directory. Thus, before you run that exe, you may want to rename your old windows.iso to something else, so that you can both tell whether the downgrade process completed successfully and have the ability to switch back between ISOs if needed.


  1. Thanks for a great post Pete!

    Oh this was a helpful post! ... This was my first time using VMPlayer. I installed it a few days ago, and all seemed fine. I don't know if it was a windows update or what, but i notice the machine would "freeze" for a second or 2 every little while. Looking at task manager I could see spikes and the graph would freeze as well. I narrowed the issue down to vmtools. I found some info saying that maybe it was a perf counter problem, but that did not pan out. I followed the above proceedure to install the version of vmtools that came with 3.1.5 of vmplayer, and not I seem to be OK ... BTW you need to set the option NOT to upgrade vmtools other wise you will revert back the the latest version.

  2. Thank you! Thank you! I'd been struggling with the bad effects of an upgrade to version 5 of VMware Player and a followup attempt to update the VMware Tools. Days of effort trying to uninstall and reinstall. I was about to delete the Windows 2000 guest OS altogether until I came across your posting. I couldn't find anything helpful or useful on the VMware Community postings. You saved the day! Thanks again.

  3. thanks for the info " that silently extracts and copies (overwrites) a new windows.iso in the VMWare directory"

  4. This BAT is automatic Extract iso [Bat Directory\VMware-tools-iso\tools-[OS]-[BuildVer].iso]
    Open Notepad.
    Paste and Save ExtractTools.bat
    @echo off
    for /f "usebackq tokens=1,2,* delims=[" %%O in (`ver`) do set OSVT=%%P
    set OSV=%OSVT:~8,3%
    if "%OSV%" LEQ "5.1" goto OSVG
    for /f "tokens=3 delims=\ " %%i in ('whoami /groups^|find "Mandatory"') do set LEVEL=%%i
    if "%LEVEL%"=="High" goto OSVG
    echo This Program Work Administrators Onry.
    echo Please This File Right Click and [Run as Administrator]
    echo Press Any Key exit.
    if "%~n1"=="" (echo Drop VMware-Tools [tools-*.tar] to ExtractTools.bat.&&pause&&exit)
    echo Extracting %~n1
    set etmp=C:\vmwt_%RANDOM%
    MD %etmp%

    for /f "tokens=1,2,*" %%I in ('reg query HKCU\Software\7-Zip /v Path 2^>nul') DO IF "%%I"=="Path" (
    "%%K\7z.exe" x "%~1" -o%etmp%
    goto main
    if exist "C:\Program Files\WinRAR\RAR.exe" (
    "C:\Program Files\WinRAR\WinRAR.exe" x "%~1" %etmp%
    goto main
    if exist "C:\Program Files(x86)\WinRAR\RAR.exe" (
    "C:\Program Files(x86)\WinRAR\WinRAR.exe" x "%~1" %etmp%
    goto main
    for /f "tokens=1,2,*" %%I in ('reg query HKCU\Software\HoeHoe\Lhaplus /v InstallPath 2^>nul') DO IF "%%I"=="InstallPath" (
    "%%K\Lhaplus.exe" "%~1" /o:%etmp%
    ren %etmp%\%~n1\ tmp
    move "%etmp%\tmp\*" "%etmp%"
    goto main
    for %%i in (%etmp%\*.exe) do set tools=%%i
    md "%~dp0\VMware-tools-iso" 2>nul
    "%tools%" /e "%etmp%\ext"
    for /f "delims=- tokens=1,2,3" %%i in ("%tools%") do set tools=%%j&&set toolver=%%k
    set toolver=%toolver:.exe=%
    msiexec.exe /a "%etmp%\ext\tools-%tools%.msi" /qb TARGETDIR="%etmp%"
    move /y "%etmp%\ProgramFiles\VMware\tools-%tools%\%tools%.iso" "%~dp0\VMware-tools-iso\tools-%tools%-%toolver%.iso"
    rd /s /q "%etmp%"
    explorer "%~dp0VMware-tools-iso"