VMware support for Open VM Tools on FreeBSD
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VMware support for Open VM Tools on FreeBSD


Article ID: 342627


Updated On:


VMware vSphere ESXi


This article provides information about the benefits, contents, availability and VMware support for Open VM Tools on FreeBSD.


VMware vSphere ESXi 6.5
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7
VMware vSphere ESXi 7.0.0
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5



VMware Tools consists of a suite of virtualization utilities that improves the functionality, administration, and management of virtual machines within a VMware environment. Open VM Tools (OVT) is the open source implementation of VMware Tools, which is provided to operating system vendors and communities to bundle and redistribute with their operating system releases or through their package repositories. Open VM Tools (OVT) is also of value to virtual appliance vendors to enhance the functionality of appliances to operate in a VMware environment.

The benefits of bundling OVT are:
  • End users get the best out-of-box experience to efficiently deploy virtual machines on VMware virtual infrastructure.
  • OVT is a fully supported open source implementation of VMware Tools.
  • Eliminates the need to separately install VMware Tools when OVT is bundled with a virtual appliance.
  • Compatibility matrix check is not required for open-vm-tools. Adhering to the VMware Compatibility Matrix for the guest OS release is sufficient. For more information, see VMware Compatibility Matrix.


open-vm-tools on FreeBSD consists of these packages.

open-vm-tools-nox11 package:

This package contains the complete OVT user-space programs and libraries, including vmtoolsd needed on a FreeBSD server installation. These features are enabled by this package:

  • Synchronization of the guest OS clock with the virtualization platform
  • Enables the virtual infrastructure to perform graceful power operations (shut down) and file system quiescing of the virtual machine
  • Provides a heartbeat from guest to the virtualization infrastructure to support vSphere High Availability (HA)
  • Publishes information about the guest OS to the virtualization platform, including resource utilization and networking information
  • Provides a secure and authenticated mechanism to perform various operations within the guest OS from the virtualization infrastructure
  • Accepts additional plug-ins that can extend or customize OVT functionality

open-vm-tools package:

This package contains everything in "open-vm-tools-nox11" plus additional user-space programs and libraries to improve the interactive functionality of virtual machines. This package depends on X and therefore should be installed only when X is available. These features are enabled by this package:

Enables resizing of the guest display to match host console window or the VMware Remote Console Window for vSphere

Text copy & paste in UI as well as DND are impacted by Xorg changes that do not allow the
vmmouse driver to be associated with the X11 screen.


Operating system vendors/communities and virtual appliance vendors can obtain the source code for OVT at https://github.com/vmware/open-vm-tools

Open-vm-tools is provided by FreeBSD through online package repositories and can be installed using the operating system package manager. The first supported combination of FreeBSD and open-vm-tools are:
  • FreeBSD 10.x.
  • FreeBSD 11.x.
  • Open-vm-tools version 10.1.x.
As new versions of FreeBSD are released, the most recent version of open-vm-tools will be validated and made available for that release via FreeBSD's online package repositories. Also see VMware's support status for guest operating system releases in the online VMware Compatibility Guide.

As new versions of open-vm-tools are released, they will be made available via FreeBSD's online package repositories for FreeBSD releases that are currently supported by the community. New open-vm-tools versions will not be validated for use with FreeBSD releases that have reached End-of-Life status. See the following site for the current support status of FreeBSD: https://www.freebsd.org/releases/.

VMware recommends using open-vm-tools redistributed by operating system vendors/communities including FreeBSD.  The legacy VMware Tools for FreeBSD that is distributed on ISO has been phased out.  That last version of the VMware Tools for FreeBSD ISO is release 10.1.15. For more information, see Are VMware Tools distributed by VMware for the FreeBSD operating systems? in the FAQ section below.

VMware support policy

For VMware support policy, see VMware support for Open VM Tools (2073803).

Frequently asked questions

  • How do I install OVT in FreeBSD?
    Follow installation guidance from the OS vendor for a specific release. For FreeBSD release 10.x and later releases, pre-built open-vm-tools packages are available from the FreeBSD package repositories.
    • For a desktop system (with X11) :  pkg install open-vm-tools
    • For a server system (no X11) :  pkg install open-vm-tools-nox11  
  • How do I upgrade OVT?
    Updates to OVT will be provided through the FreeBSD repositories as per FreeBSD's published process and schedules.
    To upgrade an installed open-vm-tools package, use the pkg upgrade command.

    Following OVT package installation or upgrade, the vmtoolsd process may fail to start. Use the following command to verify that the vmtoolsd process is running.
    ps -fU root | grep vmtoolsd

    If the vmtoolsd process is not running, either reboot the system or manually start the vmtools vmsvc process with the command.
    /usr/local/etc/rc.d/vmware-guestd start
  • A virtual machine with OVT displays Guest managed or 3rdParty/unmanaged in vSphere Client. What does this mean?
    This means that vCenter Server cannot be used to install upgrades of OVT software in that virtual machine. Instead, you should manage the installation and update of open-vm-tools from within each guest operating system using the native package manager; for FreeBSD this is pkg.
The message Guest managed or 3rd Party/unmanaged does not imply a support status for open-vm-tools or the guest operating system. The support status of operating system releases is published in the VMware Compatibility Guide and open-vm-tools distributed by OS vendor and OS communities for use with certified operating system releases is fully supported by VMware.
Note: 3rdParty/unmanaged does not change the support commitment by VMware on a specific environment, as long as OS-vendor supported open-vm-tools are used on an Operating System certified by VMware. For more information, For more information, see VMware Compatibility Guide.
  • Are VMware Tools distributed by VMware available for the FreeBSD operating systems?
    In the past, VMware has provided a VMware Tools distribution (ISO) for the then current and legacy FreeBSD releases. The last VMware Tools for FreeBSD ISO to be published is release 10.1.15. This release as well as legacy VMware Tools releases are available for download at http://customerconnect.vmware.com.
    • The VMware Tools 10.1.15 release can be installed on FreeBSD 10.x releases.
    • VMware Tools 10.1.5 is the last VMware Tools release that can be installed on FreeBSD 11.x releases.
      vmmemctl.ko kernel driver is not available for FreeBSD 11.x in the VMware Tools distributed by VMware. The kernel module is available in the OVT 10.1.x releases from FreeBSD.

Starting with VMware Tools 10.2.0, tools for FreeBSD is only available through Open VM Tools. VMware is working with the FreeBSD community to upstream and improve VMware specific kernel drivers. The open-vm-tools packages will continue to provide needed drivers until those drivers or their replacements are available in the FreeBSD base or /usr/ports releases.

For more information on OVT support by VMware, see VMware support for Open VM Tools (2073803).