I am using VMWare workstation 15.5.0 professional build 14665864.
I have just made a fresh VM installation of Windows 8.1 x64 build 9600 (virtualHW.version = "13"). It is a totally fresh Windows installation, no updates applied yet.
Nevertheless, I'm unable to install VMWare tools in this VM. I get an error message that says "VMWare Alias Manager and Ticket Service" can't be started. I tried to start the service manually but that doesn't work either.
Any ideas? Do I need to install an older version of VMWare tools?
... no updates applied yet.
This could be the root cause. VMware Tools require a current VC++ Runtime, which require a certain OS patch level.
Please update the OS with the latest patches to see whether this resolves the issue.