Installing VMware tools without a reboot?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on this script that makes it possible to install VMware tools without rebooting. I must admit that it’s a really smart way to surpress the automatic reboot. But please keep in mind that it’s not VMware Tools that needs the reboot but the actual OS that needs the reboot. Why? VMware tools includes device drivers! The “tools” itself is a service that can easily be restarted but that’s clearly not something you would do with a device driver. And don’t forget about what happens to your nic driver when it’s being updated… yes, all network connection will drop.

So I do think this script can be usefull if you want to do a manual reboot at a certain time. But please be sure reboot the VM as soon as possible, cause not rebooting the VM can and probably will cause problems.

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    1. says

      Hi Duncan,

      I was also under the impression that installing device drivers automatically requires a reboot of your virtual machine. Apparently this is not true and only a very specific type of device drivers actually require a reboot to be properly reloaded (amongst others if you update the storage driver that is used by your boot device). I’ve recently written some thoughts about the VMware Tools upgrade (see my blog).

      Nevertheless, I totally agree with your suspicion regarding these suppress-reboot scripts.

    2. moosethumbs says

      I’ve been trying to get this script to work myself, so I’m happy to see it updated! Here are my personal reasons for wanting to do this… We have 1600 VMs or so, and we need to update tools on basically all of them. The problem with letting them reboot is that all the VMs have a reboot/maint window once per month, otherwise I have to coordinate with all the server owners for the downtime, and then create change requests and get approval for them. Also, my team doesn’t have an easy way of tracking down the window for each VM because that is managed by a different team! If I can upgrade tools without rebooting, I’m hoping I can do 1 change request, fire off the script and let the monthly reboot do the dirty work.

      I did not think about the network connections dropping though, so that may throw a kink in my plans anyway.

    3. says

      Well to me the point of the script was never in question. I, as a the system administrator, want to control when a system is rebooted. A software install should always provide options to suppress reboots during unattended installs. Why? Because I would want to bundle multiple installs (more than one of which could require a reboot) into one batch job–and then reboot when complete.

      As to the other point about whether a reboot is truly required, that is very often…due to software vendors being (overly) conservative. You see, they have to make an install as robust as possible so as to prevent as many tech support calls as possible.

      So anyway, I’m not saying that the VM Tools do not require a reboot, but just that I want to have that control. That was the point all along as far as I’m concerned.

    4. babylovet says

      I have noticed that while doing manual “automatic” tools upgrades after 5.1->5.5 host upgrades that most of the time the Win 2008 and 2012 VMs do not reboot even though I am not using advanced options to suppress reboots. Yet, on some servers they do reboot, not sure why. Perhaps it’s the network driver which is the deciding factor although I have not systematically tried to prove this.

      Win 2003 servers ALWAYS will reboot after tools upgrade.