How to Install Open VM Tools on Pop!_OS

Sometimes you may want to install Pop!_OS on a virtual machine. However, you may have realized that communication between the host and the VM machine doesn’t exist. Luckily, many distributions now carry the open-source VM tools that can be used for many of the most popular Virtual Machine products such as VMware.

In the following small tutorial, you will learn how to install these tools on your Pop!_OS desktop.


  • Recommended operating system: Pop!_OS 20.04 or higher.
  • User  Account: A user account with sudo or root access.
  • Internet access

Update the operating system

Update your Pop!_OS operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

The tutorial will use the sudo command and assume you have sudo status.

To check the sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing the sudo state:

[joshua@popos ~]$ sudo whoami

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on adding a User to Sudoers on Pop!_OS.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.


The tutorial will use the terminal for installation found in  Activities> Show Applications > Terminal.


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Install Open VM Tools Desktop Package

To install Open VM Tools on Pop!_OS is quite simple. The tutorial will demonstrate using Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS however, the same method will typically work with other versions.

In your terminal, execute the following command.

sudo apt install open-vm-tools-desktop

Example output:

How to Install Open VM Tools on Pop!_OS

Alternatively, you can install the dev version if needed; however, this would only be required by a small userbase.

sudo apt install open-vm-tools-dev

Once complete, you need to reboot your PC for the changes to take effect, and this can be done quickly while in your terminal.


Verify the Installation

Once back inside, verify that everything is in working order using the following command.

apt-cache policy open-vm-tools-desktop

Example output:

How to Install Open VM Tools on Pop!_OS

As above, everything is installed and working.

Comments and Conclusion

In the following tutorial, you have learned how to install Open VM Tools on Pop!_OS. Overall, Open VM Tools are not needed unless you use a VM Machine for your distribution. Given the type of userbase that Pop!_OS has many users install directly onto their PC, but if the needs arise, sometimes using a VM to test a new version or a beta version of Pop!_OS isn’t a bad idea.


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