How to Share folders with your Ubuntu Virtual Machine (guest)

By Lowell Heddings on October 26th, 2006

VMware Workstation provides a great ability to create shared folders so that your virtual machine can easily access data on your host pc. This saves a lot of time, especially when you are installing software that would otherwise take a long time to download.

For this to work, you will need to make sure that you have the vmware tools installed and running.

You can check to see if the vmware shared folders module is running by running this command:

lsmod | grep vmhgfs

If you get nothing then the mdoule is not loaded. You will need to load it with this command:

modprobe vmhgfs

If that gives you another error, then you don’t have the vmware tools installed, and you will want to make sure to install them before proceeding.

In VMware Workstation, go to the VM \ Settings window and then click on the Options tab. From here you can modify the shared folders.

Click the Add button, and you will be presented with a wizard. Click next, and you should see this screen:

The name field will become part of the mounted path in Ubuntu, so name it something short and to the point. For instance, this shared folder will be mounted on /mnt/hgfs/mydrive/

Select the host folder that you want to share and then click the Next button

If you are worried about the guest operating system messing with your files, you can select the read-only checkbox. I personally did so simply because I was worried about accessing in-use files.

You shouldn’t even have to restart your virtual machine. The folders should immediately show up under /mnt/hgfs

That’s all there is to it. Remember, if you have problems it’s probably because your vmware tools are not installed.

Tested on: Ubuntu Dapper, Ubuntu Edgy Eft

Update: If you have problems you might also want to check your firewall settings, which could be disabling communications between the virtual machine and your host computer. Thanks to burkhard in the comments for noticing this.

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 10/26/06
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