How to Manually Remove VMware Tools

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Ever had the problem where you either have a corrupt copy of VMware Tools that can’t be updated or you perform an update and the install fails part way through leaving remnants behind?  These remnants then stop you from reinstalling VMware Tools and you are presented with the following error messages:

A previous version of VMware Tools is already installed

Error 1316 A network error occured while attempting to read from the file C:WindowsInstalledVMware Tools.msi

Even an uninstall doesn’t always work so unfortunately you’ll have to revert to to manually removing the items from the registry and file system that are stopping a new install from taking place.

The process to resolve this is simple and the following has been taken from VMware’s Knowledge Base article here.  I found that performing these steps helped resolve this problem for me.

  • Open the Windows Registry editor. Click Start > Run.

  • Type regedit press Enter.

  • Browse to HKLM SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionuninstall. Search for the branch with a key named DisplayName and has a value of VMware Tools . Delete the branch associated with that entry. Do not delete the entire uninstall branch.

  • Browse to HKLMSoftwareClassesInstallerProducts . Search for the branch with the key named ProductName and has a value of VMware Tools . Delete the branch associated with that entry.

  • Browse to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTInstallerProducts . Search for the branch with the key named ProductName and has a value of VMware Tools . Delete the branch associated with that entry.

  • Browse to HKLM SoftwareVMware.  Delete the branch called VMware Tools .

  • Ensure the folder located in %ProgramFiles%VMwareVMware Tools is deleted.

  • Attempt to install the new version of VMware Tools, if applicable

  • In the future I might look at generating a script to perform this for me though it happens so rarely I haven’t felt the need up to now.  Let me know if you’d find a script useful.

     

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    About Simon Seagrave

    Simon is a UK based Virtualization, Cloud & IT Technology Evangelist working as a Senior Technology Consultant and vSpecialist for EMC. He loves working in the ever changing IT industry & spends most of his time working with Virtualization, Cloud & other Enterprise IT based technologies, in particular VMware, EMC and HP products.

    As well as on this site, you can find him on Twitter and Google+

    Comments

    1. Ok so i followed these steps. I thought i did everything correctly, but when i try to install another version of it, it always says “A newer Version Is Already Installed” Please help!

      That script would be nice to have ; )

    2. Whocarez says:

      Hi I tried to use to your tutorial. But after trying I realised that it only works on a x86 system. When using x64 additional steps are required. Under HKLMSofwareWow6432Node you’ll find additional vmware keys

    3. Great article. It just saved the life of the VM I was working on. Thank you sir!

    4. Here’s an even easier way from a VMware KB article:
      http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1012693

      To correct this issue, you must perform a forced uninstall and re-install of VMware Tools.

      To uninstall and re-install VMware Tools:
      1.Right-click on the virtual machine.
      2.Click Guest > Install/Upgrade VMware Tools.
      3.Open a Console to the virtual machine and log into the guest operating system.
      4.Click Start > Run, type cmd, and click OK to open a command prompt in Windows.
      5.Change the drive to your CD-ROM drive. For example, D:.
      6.Type setup /c and press Enter to force removal of all registry entries and delete the old version of VMware Tools.
      7.In My Computer, double click the CD-ROM that contains VMware Tools.
      8.After Auto-Run starts, follow the prompts to install.

      Note: This must be done from the GUI interface. Do not launch the install by running Setup from the Command Prompt.

      9.When the installation is complete, reboot the guest operating system.

    5. Ali Fakoor says:

      You can also do the following procedure. Run these commands at an (elevated) command prompt:
      sc delete vmmouse
      sc delete VMMEMCTL
      sc delete VMX_svga
      sc delete VMTOOLS
      sc delete “VMWare Physical Disk Helper Servive”

      Now reboot the system and then remove the instllation entries using the windows installer cleanup utility (http://www.softpedia.com/progDownload/Windows-Installer-CleanUp-Utility-Download-18442.html) [NOTE: This tools was originally available from microsoft website, but was removed due to some issues, see:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2438651

      Afterwards you can manually remove the installed program files of the VMWare Tools.

      HTH,
      Ali

    6. Ali Fakoor says:

      What if setup.exe is not available in your version [or it does not accept the /c parameter for forcefully cleaning]? Here is a solution:

      Run these commands at an (elevated) command prompt:
      sc delete vmmouse
      sc delete VMMEMCTL
      sc delete VMX_svga
      sc delete VMTOOLS
      sc delete “VMWare Physical Disk Helper Servive”

      Now reboot the system and then remove the instllation entries using the windows installer cleanup utility (http://www.softpedia.com/progDownload/Windows-Installer-CleanUp-Utility-Download-18442.html) [NOTE: This tools was originally available from microsoft website, but was removed due to some issues, see:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2438651

      Afterwards you can manually remove the installed program files of the VMWare Tools.

      Hope that helps someone [in future]
      Ali

    7. Hi All,

      In order to get the above steps to work in Workstation (v8), whilst running an XP (SP3) guest I had to disable “AutoRun” in XP. This was necessary because every time that I went to perform Step 5 I got stuck. I figure that XP was already running setup and therefore I couldn’t manually run setup with the “C” switch.

      Here is a link to disabling AutoRun in XP:

      http://support.microsoft.com/kb/967715

      I hope that this helps.

      Kind Regards,

      Davo

    8. Awesome! It was my solution. Thanks

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