How-To Geek

Enable Copy and Paste from Ubuntu VMware Guest

VMware includes the ability to copy and paste to and from your virtual machine window. To enable this, you will need to install the VMware tools inside your virtual machine.

Once your VMware tools are installed, you will want to launch the vmware toolbox utility, which must be running if you want copy and paste to work.

Go to your command line, and run the following command:

> vmware-toolbox &

When you see this window pop up, you should be able to copy and paste

I usually just send the window to another desktop so it doesn’t interfere with what I’m doing. Now you can copy and paste!

Tested on: Ubuntu Dapper, Ubuntu Edgy Eft

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/22/06

Comments (13)

  1. Ben Alex

    It’s also worth noting that vmware-toolbox is essential to be running if you want automatic mouse release to work, so you can traverse from the Ubuntu guest operating system back to the your host operating system.

  2. The Geek


    That’s an extremely good point… thanks!

  3. Vince T

    how can you keep vmware tool running? or how to sent the windows to other desktop as mentioned?

  4. Mr Linux

    It’s worth noting that with VMware Workstation 6, this hack isn’t necessary anymore.

  5. The Geek

    Good to know!

  6. Francis Carden

    We have been working on integrating applications with a lot more than just copy and paste across virtualized environments like VMWARE. i.e. take a dozen fields from a CLARIFY application in one Citrix session and move them straight into a web application in another Citrix session.

    Doing this with VMWARE is next. It can also be triggered around say, a user clicking a button or losing focus on a control, automatically drives other applications / passes data into other virtualized applications..

    Any use ?


    Christmas box – A

  8. asif_is_me


    I am trying out fluxbuntu 7.10 and couldn’t get vmware copy paste to work at all, even with the toolbox open as mentioned above. So I tried out ubuntu 8.04 and found that copy paste (and mouse capture) worked out of the box!

    This kind of thing normally irritates more than being a curiosity so i simply checked out the running vmware processes on both instances found ubuntu listing the following:

    asif@asif-vm:~$ ps -ef | grep vmw
    root 4618 1 0 03:03 ? 00:00:03 /usr/sbin/vmware-guestd –background /var/run/
    asif 5796 4618 0 03:10 ? 00:00:05 /usr/lib/vmware-tools/bin32/vmware-user >/dev/null 2>&1 -blockFd 11

    But fluxbuntu only showed the guest service running. So to cut a long story short, I simply started up the wmvare-user service manually, as above, and hey presto cut/copy/mouse capture all started working!

    The exact command is below:
    vmware-user >/dev/null 2>&1 -blockFd 11


  9. Tolli

    vmware-user >/dev/null 2>&1 -blockFd 11

    This fixed by Ubuntu 8.1 install as well!!! – Thanks.

  10. random

    the command:
    vmware-user >/dev/null 2>&1 -blockFd 11
    worked perfectly!


  11. Danilo

    Thanks asif_is_me

  12. Raja Nagendra Kumar

    Thank You.. extremely useful tip..

    TejaSoft – Hadoop Masters

  13. Mable


    I tried running vmware-toolbox, and kept it running.
    But I still cant copy from Windows 7, word document to a terminal virtual ubuntu, vmware.
    What could be wrong?

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