Monday, December 23, 2013

Error while updating VMTools in Fusion 6

Like many Mac users, I run VMware Fusion so I can use Windows when needed. I've got a VM running Windows 8.1 that I use primarily for Visio and RDP sessions (I've never liked the native RDP client for OS X). And to be honest, it's one more machine for me to patch and update; this is therapeutic for my OCD.

I ran into a problem a few weeks ago while trying to update VMTools in my Windows 8.1 guest. It's an error I've seen many times over the years with various Windows applications, and when it popped up, I had flashbacks from regedt32 and blowing away keys on Windows 2000.

I figured this was a common issue, so I searched VMware's KB and found this article: Unable to upgrade existing VMware Tools (1001354). I ran through the section on Windows 8, but none of those steps applied to my installation. The last section (finding and deleting all occurences of vmware in the registry) was a little more than I needed. I didn't want to corrupt all of the VMware software I've got loaded (PowerCLI is a MUST!). So I tried something different.

In the error screenshot, you'll notice that the source field references a CLSID (it's the data that begins with {8AE43F1). The CLSID uniquely identifies the application that you're working with. I decided to search the registry for any data that matched the first portion of this CLSID. Here's the result of that search:

You can see that the search turned up an entry that referred to VMware Tools and the path to the installer. I decided to delete this whole key and then restart the VM. (This is where timid bloggers will say "make a backup." I say just delete it. I'm bold like that.)

Success! I was able to install VMTools without error after getting rid of that key.

Now VMTools is current and running. Don't waste time wondering if this is a Windows problem or a VMTools problem. You'll drive yourself mad in the process. Just fix it and move on. Nothing to see here.