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VMware Tools for Nested ESXi

VMware Tools for Nested ESXi


Note: This Fling’s functionality is now integrated into ESXi 6.0 and later. However, you can still download the Fling for ESXi 5.*.

This VIB package provides a VMware Tools service (vmtoolsd) for running inside a nested ESXi virtual machine. The following capabilities are exposed through VMware Tools:

  • Provides guest OS information of the nested ESXi Hypervisor (eg. IP address, configured hostname, etc.).
  • Allows the nested ESXi VM to be cleanly shut down or restarted when performing power operations with the vSphere Web/C# Client or vSphere APIs.
  • Executes scripts that help automate ESXi guest OS operations when the guest’s power state changes.
  • Supports the Guest Operations API (formally known as the VIX API).

New in version 1.2:
– Larger resource pool for programs started using the VIX API.
– Now supports Guest Time Synchronization.

New in version 1.1:

– Now reports IPv6 addresses as well as IPv4 addresses for nested ESXi guests.

For more information:




System Requirements

  • A VMware product on the host that is compatible with VMware Tools 9.7.
  • Nested ESXi running vSphere 5.x
  • Nested ESXi VMs installed with vSphere 6.0 no longer require the VMware Tools VIB as it is now pre-installed by default.


VMware Tools for Nested ESXi can be installed on any ESXi 5.x guest. This Fling is packaged as a VIB that can be installed using the esxcli command from the guest's ESXi shell (which can be enabled in the DCUI under Troubleshooting Options).

There are two methods in which you can install the VIB:

Option 1 - Download VIB and upload to an ESXi datastore:

Download the VIB file and upload to an ESXi datastore

esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/[DATASTORE]/esx-tools-for-esxi-9.7.2-0.0.5911061.i386.vib

Option 2 - Install directly from VMware.com (requires internet access from ESXi host):

esxcli software vib install -v http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmw-tools/esxi_tools_for_guests/esx-tools-for-esxi-9.7.2-0.0.5911061.i386.vib

To uninstall the VIB:

esxcli software vib remove -n esx-tools-for-esxi


Change Log


Jim Mattson

Virtual Machine Monitor
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58 thoughts on “VMware Tools for Nested ESXi

  1. Tom Howarth

    I am getting a issue when attempting to install this VIB

    Calculated digest at EOF does not match expected result:

  2. Grant Palmer

    I love having these in the guest hypervisor as this truly makes the guest managable.

    As an aside, the link in the instructions works perfectly when pasted into a SSH session for direct download from VMware; however the link itself points to the 1.1 version.

  3. Jim Mattson

    By the way, Tools for Nested ESXi are built in to ESXi 6.0, and should work without any additional steps when ESXi 6.0 is installed in a VM.

  4. Peter Linkletter

    It would wonderful if you could make this available as an Offline Bundle, as well as a vib. That would make it a whole lot easier when working with my lab (to create a nested lab with the vib in it already). I know I can convert it using 3rd party tools, but it took me quite a while to find them and a bit of desperation to trust them.

  5. Eric

    Configuring vSphere HA Cannot install the vCenter agent service. Unknown installer error.

    I have 6 NESTED esxi 5.0 hosts in my SRM lab, 5.0u1 5.0u2 5.0u3.
    SiteA, HA enable first, then install this vib, after ESXi reboot, disable or re-enable HA , it works fine.
    SiteB, install this vib first, then enable HA, error occur. By [esxcli software vib remove -n esx-tools-for-esxi], reboot ESXi, enable HA successfully.
    maybe some bug.

  6. Jennifer

    HI… I’ve tried installing this tool multiple times, but I never get the status of vmware tools changed to running.

    From the command line of my host I can see that the vib installed correctly:
    esx-tools-for-esxi 9.7.1-0.0.00000 VMware VMwareCertified 2014-05-06

    Also, I restarted the services under /etc/vmware-tools and saw the status for vmware tools as running:
    Running vmtoolsd start
    vmtoolsd started

    Still no luck in vCenter though. I’m running vCenter 5.1 and a nested ESXi 5.5 on a physical ESXi 5.1

    Any ideas?

    1. Jim Mattson

      My guess would be that you are hiding the VMware backdoor port from user code in the ESXi guest. If you have the following line in your configuration file for the ESXi guest, please remove it:

      monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = TRUE

  7. Smitha Radhakrishnan

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for sharing this vib.
    I installed the tools vib on a Nested ESX which has ESXi 5.1.0 build-799733, running on a 5.5 ESX host. The vib
    gets installed, but after reboot the vSphere client shows Running (not installed). Could you please help me?


    1. Jim Mattson

      Tools are running, but since hostd was circumvented, it shows that Tools are not installed. You can restart hostd, or you can ignore the message.

  8. Apoorv

    If you run into the following error use the “–no-sig-check” option at the end of the command
    (‘VMware_bootbank_esx-tools-for-esxi_9.7.0-0.0.00000’, ‘Could not find a trusted signer.’)
    vibs = VMware_bootbank_esx-tools-for-esxi_9.7.0-0.0.00000
    Please refer to the log file for more details.

  9. Dave Samic

    I ordered 2 3PAR SANs, found some older Cisco 9124’s from a great vendor of ours, ordered 2 Arista 7050 10G switches, all of this for this particular reason: nested virtualization! My goal was to provide everyone of our engineers their own labs to test, to launch VDI’s, all of it! All I can say is, it’s going great! I run, what I call the infrastructure side off of a 3PAR SAN and fiber channel. I create a datastore for everyone and put their nested ESX stuff inside of that. Then, I use 3PAR’s iSCSI stuff to connect to that same datastore from the nested ESX host to put all of the nested Windows machines in it and it is absolutely stellar. The performance I am getting is nice!

    Finding this nested tools piece shows me that VMware is taking this seriously and providing tools like this, for people like us, is amazing! Thanks to everyone for all you are doing, you are providing great jobs for people and for deep thinkers like me a way to dig deeper into providing my customers new ways to virtualize and develop more I.P.!

    Please keep developing tools like this for nesting! Don’t stop, we appreciate it!

  10. Jay

    I’d like to out that I tried this a few times on the same host and was frustrated with errors…until I read the line and actually FOLLOWED the syntax.

    Thanks for this FLING!

  11. Giuliano

    Mine doesn’t work. I’ve installed in on a nested ESXi 5.1.0 build-799733 and my physical ESXi (ver 5.5) doesn’t recognize it, it says VMware tools not runnining (not installed)

    Am I the only one ?

    1. Giuliano

      When I try to start /etc/init.d/vmtoolsd on vmkernel.log I found

      cpu0:5158)User: 2742: wantCoreDump : vmtoolsd -enabled : 0

      Any idea?

    2. Jim Mattson

      If you have specified “monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = TRUE” in the configuration file for the ESXi VM, please remove that option.

      1. Giuliano

        Is monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = TRUE set as default ?

        I haven’t changed anything in the vmx but I’m gonna check and get back to you.


      2. Giuliano

        Hi Jim,

        I have checked and I don’t have monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = TRUE in my .vmx files.
        What else can I check?
        Thank you.

  12. Maish

    Great tool – thanks for the great work.

    A small comment – the IP Address that is reported is only the IPv4 address of vmk0. Understandable. Is there any reason why the vib will not report the IPv6 address?

    1. Jim Mattson

      The Tools daemon uses VmkuserTcpip_GetInterfaces from the vmkuser library to obtain the IP addresses. Currently, this library only reports IPv4 addresses. If/When the library starts reporting IPv6 addresses, I believe everything will just work.

  13. Dave Brooks

    great work guys, any chance of adding VMXNet 3 and Wake On LAN support.
    I can demo DPM in the lab environment then.


    1. Jim Mattson

      VMXNET3 support is built-in to ESXi 5.1 and ESXi 5.5 guests, although there are some bugs in the ESXi 5.1 version.

      Wouldn’t wake on LAN require that the guest have the ability to sleep?

  14. Bede Carroll

    Great work on this! Any chance of getting this as a software depot so we can use this with Image Builder? Online or zip would be fine.

    Thanks again for the hard work!

    1. Jim Mattson

      Yes, that is one feature. Instead of powering off the VM, the shutdown operation will now execute the ‘halt’ command on the ESXi guest.

      1. Jim Mattson

        Oops. That reply should have been to MohammedM.

        I will look into what is necessary to integrate this with Image Builder.

  15. Fabrizio de Luca

    Absolutely great to see it finally available!
    Next in my “wish list” is now: vmmemctl for nested ESXi… how about this?

  16. Kyle Murley

    Stoked about this one! Been waiting for it to go public since William announced it at VMworld Barcelona on the vBrownbag unsupported live stream

  17. Duco Jaspars

    Great, love it
    Quick question though, both the c# client and web client show the tools as Running (Not installed)
    How can they be running if they are not installed? Puzzeled ….

    1. Andreas Peetz

      this issue appears only directly on the first reboot after the installation.
      After another reboot the tools are correctly displayed as installed resp. as “Current”.
      – Andreas


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