VMware Workstation: Mounting a Host’s Shared Folders in an Ubuntu 18.04 Client

VMware Workstation has built-in tools that can be installed from the management GUI (VM > Install VM Tools). I had some issues getting these tools to work correctly so I decided to install their open source version.

The Open Virtual Machine Tools (open-vm-tools) project is an open source implementation of VMware Tools. It is a suite of virtualization utilities and drivers to improve the functionality, user experience and administration of VMware virtual machines.

Synaptic Package Manager

There are two versions of these tools:

  • open-vm-tools — This package contains only the core user-space programs and libraries (command line interface).
  • open-vm-tools-desktop — This package contains the user-space programs and libraries that are essential for improved user experience of VMware virtual machines (graphical user interface).

I installed the first version into the client virtual machine (VM) which was running Ubuntu 18.04.

At this point, I defined three shared folders on the host through the VMware management GUI for the VM. Critical points are highlighted with red arrows. Under the Folders section, the Name field is what the share will be named in the VM. The Host Path is the folder location on the host machine.

From within the VM, do the following:

Change to the /mnt directory and add a new hgfs directory:

sudo mkdir hgfs

Back up the original fstab:

sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab-orig

Modify the fstab file to add a new entry:

sudo gedit /etc/fstab

Add the following to the file and save it:

.host:/ /mnt/hgfs fuse.vmhgfs-fuse allow_other 0 0

Remount or reboot:

sudo mount -a OR sudo reboot

At this point, Thunar (file explorer) should show the following mounted shares:

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