VMware Tools in PVS Image

Last Updated on October 20, 2022

I know it’s a very old topic but recently I had to upgrade VMware Tools in PVS image. Since I captured all the steps for future use, I thought why not share it with everyone.

This article from Aaron Silber is still the gold standard to upgrade VMware Tools in PVS Image but in two instances, I ran into an issue where updater machine refused to boot up. Reubin Huckle’s comment rescued me from that situation.


VMware tools installation in a PVS image, if not carefully administered, affects the network stack and breaks the streaming process. The most tedious way of doing this is to reverse image the vDisk, which involves converting the vDisk into a local disk and then recapturing it with the help of Imaging tool. The alternative method described by Aaron and Reubin is a tried and tested one.

I was tasked to upgrade VMware Tools to the latest version (11.3.5 – until 28th February 2022) in multiple Windows 7 PVS images. Those images had three versions of VMware Tools – 11.0.5, 11.2.6, and 11.3.0. The host infrastructure comprised of ESXi 6.7.0 17700523 (P05 | March 2021 Patch), and ESXi 6.7.0 8294253 (U2 GA | Update 2). Before deciding on the VMware Tools version to install in a PVS image, check out VMware Product Interoperability Matrix.

The next important step is to visit VMware Tools Release Notes and go through Before you Begin as well as Known Issues section. In my case, KB4474419 must be present to install VMware Tools 11.3.5 in Windows 7 machine. And, to deal with “VMware Tools upgrade failed with error code 1072”, VMware Tools should be re-installed.

VMware Tools in PVS Image2

Next, download VMware Tools for Windows ZIP file from MyVMware – Direct Link / Alternate Link. The alternate link will always take you to the latest version (12.0.0 as of this writing).

VMware Tools in PVS Image3
VMware Tools in PVS Image4

Now, let’s get to the main course.

Upgrade VMware Tools in PVS Image

  1. Ensure that the new or existing version of the vDisk is in maintenance mode.
VMware Tools in PVS Image
  1. Make sure that updater machine is configured to boot with vDisk in the maintenance mode (VM properties/General tab) and verify that correct vDisk (VM properties/vDisk tab) is defined.
  2. Save the MAC address (VM properties/General tab) somewhere safe. This MAC address belongs to VMXNet3 adapter currently attached to the updater VM.
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VMware Tools in PVS Image7
  1. Boot up the updater machine with this new version.
  2. Once the machine is up and running, go to the vCenter and add a secondary network card to the updater machine. Change the adapter to E1000.
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VMware Tools in PVS Image
  1. Let the machine automatically detect the new hardware and install the driver. A notification in the system tray will confirm the completion of installation.
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  1. To confirm whether the driver was successfully installed or not, open Device Manager, expand Network Adapters branch, and see if Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Network Connection is visible or not. If it does, right click and select properties. In the properties window, go to Details tab, and select Install Date from Property drop-down menu. The Value field should show very recent date and time of installation.
VMware Tools in PVS Image
  1. Now, power off the VM.
  2. Record the MAC address of the new E1000 network adapter.
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  1. Open properties of updater machine in PVS Console and change the MAC address to E1000’s MAC address recorded in previous step. Click OK.
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  1. In vCenter, right click the VM and select Edit Settings. Go to VM Options tab and add a boot delay of 5000-10000 milliseconds. Click OK. Alternatively, you can check During the next boot, force entry into the BIOS setup screen.
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  1. Power on the machine. Within 10 seconds, press ESC to get to the Boot menu in BIOS.
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  1. Choose Network boot from Intel E1000 and press Enter.
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  1. Once the machine is up, run VMware Tools executable as an Administrator. The installer should start preparing VMware Tools for installation.
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VMware Tools in PVS Image19
  1. As a pre-requisite of VMware Tools 11.3.5, Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable (x86) version 14.28.29913.0 and Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2019 Redistributable (x64) version 14.28.29913.0 need to be installed first. This requires a reboot. Click Yes.
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  1. After reboot, re-run VMware tools executable. Click Next on the Welcome screen.
VMware Tools in PVS Image
  1. Select Typical as Setup type. Click Next.
VMware Tools in PVS Image
  1. Click Install on the next screen.
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  1. Once validation is complete, installation should begin.
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  1. Click Finish to complete the installation.
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  1. New VMware Tools version should immediately reflect in vCenter.
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  1. Now, shutdown the updater machine.
  2. Remove the E1000 network adapter from the VM.
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  1. Go to PVS Console, open properties of the Updater machine and replace MAC address with the original MAC address of the VMXNet3 card.
VMware Tools in PVS Image
  1. Revert Boot Delay from 10000 to 2000 milliseconds.
  2. Power on the machine. During start-up, quickly press ESC to get to the Boot menu and verify that the VMXNet3 card is listed at the top.
  3. Once the VM is up, double click on the VMware Tools icon in system tray. It should show the updated version.
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  1. Open Command Prompt as an Administrator and execute SET DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES=1.
  2. Open Device Manager. In the Menu bar, click View and then click Show hidden devices.
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  1. Expand Network adapters branch. If there is any ghost adapter, then right click on it and select Uninstall.
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  1. A ghost adapter can be identified by its dim visibility compared to other adapters. Something like this.
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  1. Open Control Panel/Programs and Features. Select Citrix Virtual Delivery Agent. Right click on it and select Change. Click Customize VDA Settings. Go through all the steps and on the last screen, click Reconfigure. Once completed, click Finish and reboot the VM.
  2. Once the updater VM is up, seal the image.
  3. Replicate the vDisk and check for any replication errors.
  4. Shut down the machine and switch vDisk back to Standard mode.

If interested, see how to migrate Citrix PVS database.

6 thoughts on “VMware Tools in PVS Image

  1. Hello, I think you configure the vDisk in PRIVATE MODE at the beginning ? Because at the end you wrote that you switch back in STANDARD mode.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. Does this method still work if I’m using BDM to boot rather than PXE/TFTP? I’ve tried this method and I am still having issues, likely because using BDM.

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