Enabling copy/paste on an Ubuntu VM on VMware Workstation

This is a bit of a miscellaneous post. I’ve had some trouble making my copy/paste work on a Ubuntu VM and hopefully it will help someone.

Installing VMware tools

First, make sure you have VMware tools installed.

sudo service vmware-tools status

If it’s not installed, then first make sure you don’t have the open-vm-tools installed.

sudo service open-vm-tools status

If you do have it installed, uninstall it.

sudo apt-get remove open-vm-tools
sudo apt-get remove --auto-remove open-vm-tools
sudo apt-get purge open-vm-tools
sudo apt-get purge --auto-remove open-vm-tools
sudo reboot

Then, after your computer reboots, you can install the VMware tools. If you didn't have open-vm-tools, you can skip to this step.

Click on Virtual Machine > Install / Update / Reinstall VMware Tools. Extract the VMware Tools tar to the Desktop and follow the below commands.

cd Desktop/vmware-tools-distrib
Run this command to install VMware Tools:
sudo ./vmware-install.pl

Follow the prompts to install. I picked the defaults.

Reboot your computer and copy/paste should work with the default window manager.


If you use i3 as a window manager, go to the i3 config at ~/.config/i3/config and add the following line at the end. (This assumes you already had an i3 configuration file created).

exec --no-startup-id vmware-user

Log out and log back in.

That’s it! Goodluck!