Changes in VMware Tools Bundling for vSphere 6.5 Update 1

One of the changes with vSphere 6.5 Update 1 is how VMware Tools are bundled.  This will primarily affect those who have older Windows systems, or are running operating systems outside of Windows or Linux.

Quick Review

Each build of ESXi contains ISO images for the current VMware tools installer for guest operating systems that run on top of it.    When an administrator tells the vSphere Client to update VMware Tools, the hypervisor mounts the appropriate ISO image from the ESXi filesystem to the virtual machine and presents it as a CD-Rom.  The guest OS can then be updated.

When you upgrade an ESXi host to a newer version or apply patches, those ISO images will be updated with the newest version of VMware Tools.

What Changes in 6.5 Update 1

vSphere 6.5 Update 1 only contains a subset of the VMware Tools ISO images for the supported guest operating systems.  These appear to support the latest variants in the Windows and Linux worlds.  These operating systems include:

  • Windows Vista and newer
  • Windows 2000, XP, and 2003
  • Linux with glibc2.5 or newer

There are other guest operating systems that are supported in 6.5 Update 1.  The VMware Tools ISO images for those OS types are available for download from the VMware Portal.  These include:

  • Solaris
  • FreeBSD
  • Windows – before Windows 2000
  • Linux – running glib older than 2.5
  • OS X – there are separate ISO images for before/after 10.11
  • Netware

You can read more about these changes in the vSphere 6.5 Update 1 Release Notes.   There is also a KB article for those utilizing Auto Deploy.