How to fix if you are unable to upgrade existing VMware Tools in a Windows 2003 virtual machine

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As per VMware, the cause of this issue is currently unknown and is under investigation.  In order to help identify the cause, report this issue to VMware Support and provide answers to the following questions:

  • What version of the tools are you upgrading from?
  • What version of the tools are you upgrading to?
  • What method is being used to upgrade the tools?

In order to determine the previous versions of the VMware Tools that were installed on your system, open the Microsoft Windows event viewer and search for Event Source of MsiInstaller and Event ID of 1034 for more information on viewing events, see the Filter Displayed Events Tech Net article from Microsoft.

Now, to fix this issue involves modifies the Windows registry. Before making any registry modifications, ensure that you have a current and valid backup of the registry and the virtual machine.

  1. Start the virtual machine and log on as the Administrator.
  2. Take a full backup of the registry prior to editing it. Do not skip this step.
  3. Open the Windows Registry editor. Click Start > Run, type regedit, and press Enter.
  4. Delete these registry keys if they exist:
    • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Features05014B32081E884E91FB41199E24004
    • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products05014B32081E884E91FB41199E24004
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Features05014B32081E884E91FB41199E24004
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products05014B32081E884E91FB41199E24004
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData\S-1-5-18\ComponentsB150AC107B12D11A9DD0006794C4E25
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{3B410500-1802-488E-9EF1-4B11992E0440}
  5. Some services might need to be removed manually from the registry. Delete these as well if they exist:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\VMTools
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\VMUpgradeHelper
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\VMware Physical Disk Helper Service
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\vmvss
  6. Search the registry for vmware and delete all associated entries.Note: On virtual machines with any other VMware products installed (for example, vCenter Server), you might not want to delete all entries. If you do have another VMware product installed, then you can skip this step if you have already removed the entries in the previous procedures.
  7. Close the registry editor.
  8. Open Windows Explorer.
  9. Delete the %ProgramFiles%\VMware\VMware Tools folder.
  10. Restart the virtual machine.
  11. Install the new version of VMware Tools.

One thought on “How to fix if you are unable to upgrade existing VMware Tools in a Windows 2003 virtual machine

    chandra sekhar said:
    May 15, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Nice article.


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