VMware Tools version number higher than expected

Today, when performing a VMware Health Check, I came across a strange issue with a customer of mine. Well, issue is maybe a big word, but I discovered the VMware Tools version some of the VMs had running, were newer than the VMware Tools version from a newly installed VM. To make sure I double checked by removing the VMware Tools and reinstalling them, again the VMware Tools version was less than the tools version of the suspicious VMs.

The VMs with the very high VMware Tools version had version 8448 running. When checking the VMware Tools about page, it showed:  8.8.0 build 471268. The other ‘normal’ VMs had VMware Tools version 8300. The Windows VMware Tools about page showed 8.3.12 build 493255. The vSphere environment I was running this on had vCenter 4.1 and ESXi 4.1 update 2 build 502767.

After some help on twitter, it turned out these VMs had been created from a VM that was originally created in VMware Workstation !!! I removed the VMware Tools from the Windows VM and reinstalled them, since I’m not sure if there is a difference between the VMware Tools installed when the VM is on an ESXi host and the VMware Tools in VMware Workstation or Fusion. Upgrading them to the ESXi version didn’t work because, of course, the existing build number is higher than the version I would like to install.

I don’t have any real answers for you yet, but I’m trying to find out more whether there are potential issues when running the VMware Workstation VMware Tools in your ESXi VM. My first guess would be that it wouldn’t matter, otherwise VMware had probably done more checking or given other alarms when trying to upgrade the tools.

If you have all the answers, please tell me in the comment section.

On twitter I was pointed to this list: VMware Tools versions and Packages.

Tools Version ESX / ESXi versions
8384 esx/5.0p02
8384 esx/5.0
8300 esx/4.1u2
8295 esx/4.1p03
8295 esx/4.1u1
8290 esx/4.1
8289 esx/4.1
8288 esx/4.1
8196 esx/4.0u4
8196 esx/4.0p10
8196 esx/4.0u3
8195 esx/4.0u2
8194 esx/4.0u1
8193 esx/4.0
8192 esx/4.0
7304 esx/3.5p25
7304 esx/3.5p24
7304 esx/3.5u5
7303 esx/3.5u4
7302 esx/3.5u3

A big thank you to  Ewan Leith and Alexander for their twitter help.

  • VMaware Admin

    I asked this same question to my VMware TAM back in January of 2011 here was his reply… “Workstation tools v8.0.2 is designed specifically for our consumer
    product for VMs running on a HOSTED hypervisor.  Version 8.0.2 tools were
    not designed for, nor were they tested with, or certified for use on our
    datacenter hypervisor ESX or ESXi.  VMware Engineering will need a valid technical
    reason from you as to why you want to use VMware Workstation’s guest
    tools in place of the certified ESX 4.0.0 tools on ESX.   


    Once your packing team has specified why they wish to use
    Workstation Tools instead of ESX Tools I will be glad to broker a conversation
    to discuss the technical merits of their choice with VMware engineering and our
    Business Critical Support team.

  • Rick Blythe

    VMware tools installed on a VM when it is on an ESX/ESXi host and when it is on a Workstation would definitely be different.

    we export a Workstation VM to an ESX/ESXi host, we need to
    ensure that we install VMware tools during Customization so the VM works
    as expected when running on an ESX/ESXi host.

    Exporting virtual machines from VMware Workstation to ESX – http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1012258

  • Kyle Hanson

    VMware Tools is designed to be product-agnostic, but I don’t think VMware has ever guaranteed that tools would work perfectly between Workstation and vSphere, so I would just reinstall Tools anyway.