Note: If you want VMWare Player to perform the update automatically, I don't think it's possible via
sudoers; that's because VMWare uses its own graphical sudo front-end to check if the user has unrestricted sudo privileges...
A trace shows that this is how the GUI update is called when you start VMWare Player and it detects a new kernel:
/usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-gksu --sudo-mode --message=Please enter your password to proceed. '/usr/bin/vmware-modconfig' --icon='vmware-player' --appname='VMware' --gcc='/usr/bin/gcc' --headers='/lib/modules/3.2.0-27-generic/build/include'
As you've already tried, even simply adding
/usr/bin/vmware-modconfig doesn't work.
We'll assume your spouse's username is guijunkette. The script to manage the VMWare kernel modules is
/usr/bin/vmware-modconfig; in light of the note above, it's best to explicitly invoke this from the terminal; to make life easier for your wife, I have included a desktop shortcut so that she needn't even open the terminal.
Around line 25, below the line
%sudo ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL, insert:
guijunkette ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/vmware-modconfig --console --install-all
Exit the editor
To rebuild the modules, she can now run
sudo vmware-modconfig --console --install-all without being asked for a password.
What you can do is create the following desktop file in your wife's
~/Desktop folder, and whenever VMWare Player flashes the "You must..." message, ask her to click Cancel, run this shortcut, and then start VMware Player (successfully) again:
Name=Update VMWare Modules
Comment=Update VMWare modules for a new kernel (console mode)
Exec=sudo vmware-modconfig --console --install-all
Paste this into, e.g.
/home/guijunkette/Desktop/vmwareupdater.desktop, and remember to
chmod +x it.
Here's a demo: