Best way to upgrade VMware Tools in a 24/7 environment


I was hoping to be able to make a poll, but it seems that option isn't available. So I guess I'll just ask in a regular discussion: what do you use to update your VMware Tools?

We're currently doubting between a software deployment method and the upgradeAtPowerCycle. Both have their pro's and con's.

As I see it the pro's of the software deployment is you can update the tools when you install the windows patches, minimising the downtime. Downside of this, is you need to make a new "package" every time a new VMTools version is available, which is quite often. Another downside is that when you install the windows patches and tools at the same time, you never know what exactly is causing a problem after the update.

The pro's of the upgradeAtPowerCycle setting is it's easiest, you just enable the setting and reboot again after a reboot. Downside of this is that it's not always a good time to do a reboot, right after a previous reboot. Another downside of this option is you can't really make a test-group to test the new VMTools on development/testservers before testing it on production. When a server reboot it'll automatically install them on the server. Of course you'd be able to make a powershell script to disable the setting on production servers and enable it on test/development, but then you lose the upside of this option - being the fact that it doesn't take much time to keep your environment updated.

So what are your thoughts/preferences?

Do you manually update them? Use a software deployment method? Do you mass-update them using the Update Manager? Or do you use the upgradeAtPowerCycle setting? Or is there another option?

2 Replies

well if i say i have a mix of the infrastructure where test/dev/prod all kind of vms available and every vm have their own importnace.

For Prod : We manually update the vmtools in the vms which are quite risky to reboot for a longer time in production.

For Test : we update them with the update manager in the less busy hours so we can minimize the downtime issues from the users. Doesnt mater its takes just some sort of time.

For Dev: we try to use the power cycle option to update them so whenever any developer reboot its vm we get the vm tools update. i know some risk involve in case of any failure but its once in a blue moon.

And yes for most critical machine prod/dev where they really dont want to update vmtools but cant bear the downtime apart from their scheduled downtime window, due to some reasons we use the powershell script.

So you can say a "different solution for different environment" and needs/urgency does matter for updating vmtools.

Please consider marking this answer "correct" or "helpful" if you found it useful. Anjani Kumar | VMware vExpert 2014-2015-2016 | Infrastructure Specialist Twitter : @anjaniyadav85 Website :

I got burned by the "upgradeatpowercycle" method...exercise extreme caution if you do this.  I ran into a bug in VMware where the new version didn't play nice with my antivirus deployment.  It wasn't affecting every guest, so it was hard to pinpoint what was happening until it was too late.  It was fun cleaning those up and in the end I had to redeploy the tools manually so I just do them manually now.  With a mid-size env I can get away with that a lot easier.  Hope this helps. 

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