There are many pages on this, but they are not all careful to distinguish WHICH set of vmware tools they are describing. There are two sets that are quite different:

  1. The apt package open-vm-tools (and open-vm-tools-desktop)
  2. The VMware tools installed from the VMWare menu (via a CDROM)

Note also that the content of #1 has changed, and vmware-hgfsmounter no longer exists. I am using VMware Fusion 8.1.1 and Ubuntu 16.04.

To install #2 you must first do "apt-get purge open-vm-tools open-vm-tools-desktop". When you do that and run the installer from the CDROM, it says to use open-vm-tools. If you ignore that and install them, you'll get lots of compiler errors on vmhgfs (the kernel module that implements shared folders in Linux), and it will fail.

I went several times around the loop switching between the two types of VMware tools until I stumbled on a solution:

Use open-vm-tools (for me they just came when I installed Ubuntu 16.04). Reboot. In the VMware settings (on the host):

  1. disable shared folders
  2. enable shared folders
  3. delete any folders
  4. add back the folders you want

Now they are there for me, in /mnt/hgfs. But they disappear on reboot -- disabling and enabling shared folders (in VMware Fusion settings) brought them back. I could not figure out what to put into /etc/fstab, so after each reboot I must disable/enable them.

Can anyone tell me how to make them survive a reboot?

(I would have added this to one of the other pages, but this system won't let a new user like me do that. I'm new here, not to Linux or VMwarL.)


Building open_vm_tools Kernel Modules


The default open_vm_tools package for Ubuntu 16.04 (and apparently other releases) do not adequately support mounting shared folders.


  • Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS desktop host
  • VMware Workstation 12 Pro Version 12.5.7 build-5813279
  • Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS server VM


This solution was derived from vmware/open-vm-tools#62.

sudo apt-get install build-essential libprocps4-dev dnet-progs libdumbnet-dev doxygen libglib2.0-dev libtool autotool
 git clone https://github.com/vmware/open-vm-tools.git
 cd open-vm-tools/open-vm-tools
 autoreconf -i
 ./configure --without-x --without-pam --without-ssl –without-icu --
 cd modules
 make MODULES=vmhgfs
 sudo insmod linux/vmhgfs/vmhgfs.ko

Kernel Module Updates

The module must be rebuilt and reinstalled after each kernel update.

To clean up the repo after a linux kernel update: git reset --hard open-vm-tools

make distclean does not adequately reset the environment and will result in a broken module.

Module Installation

sudo mkdir /lib/modules/`uname -r`/extra
sudo mv linux/vmhgfs/vmhgfs.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/extra
sudo chown root:root /lib/modules/`uname -r`/extra/vmhgfs.ko 
sudo chmod 644 /lib/modules/`uname -r`/extra/vmhgfs.ko

Mounting share folder(s)

mount -t vmhgfs .host:/share /mnt/hgfs

To mount automatically, edit the /etc/fstab file and add:

.host :/ /mnt/hgfs vmhgfs defaults 0 0

Update #1

Upon further investigation, it appears vmhgfs has been moved to userspace and uses a fuse interface.

To mount a shared folder (assuming $HOME/Shared exists):

/usr/bin/vmhgfs-fuse -o auto_unmount .host:/ $HOME/Shared

To mount automatically, edit the /etc/fstab file and add:

.host:/ /home/user/Shared fuse.vmhgfs-fuse allow_other,uid=1000,gid=1000,auto_unmount,defaults 0 0

Where user is your userid and your uid and gid == 1000. Use id to determine your uid and gid.

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