Linux : Copy/Paste not working between VMware Workstation host and Debian guest

By | August 16, 2019

If you are wondering why copying text from your VMware Workstation host to your Debian guest VM isn’t working, it is most likely because you either do not have the virtualization tools installed or have the wrong one installed.

VMware does provide what is commonly called “VMware Tools”, however those need to be compiled from source. If you decide using this approach, it should be just fine, but the recommended approach with Debian would be using the binary packages from the APT repo.

If you are used to install them on your servers and did install “open-vm-tools” package, you probably found that most of host/guest operations are working from VMware Workstation, except the GUI related ones. This is because the virtualization package for workstation contains additional GUI related options that isn’t shipped with that package, but can be found in “open-vm-tools-desktop”.

Optional – If you had “open-vm-tools” installed, do the following step to remove the package :

sudo apt-get autoremove open-vm-tools

Then reboot your Debian guest machine.

Here is the command that should be used to install the desktop version of the virtualization tools :

sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools-desktop

Note : Changes should technically be visible immediately, if any issue, try rebooting your guest VM.