VMware ESXi has the ability to install vmware-tools directly into virtual machines, This does not work for every OS. pfSense is one of those cases.

When trying to install vmware-tools into pfSense on Vmware ESXi, the Mount Tools Installer throws following error:

Failed - The required VMware Tools ISO image does not exist or is inaccessible.

The complete error message:

  • Unable to install VMware Tools. An error occurred while trying to access image file “/usr/lib/vmware/isoimages/freebsd.iso” needed to install VMware Tools: 2 (No such file or directory). Please refer the product documentation or KB article 2129825 for details about how to get VMware Tools package for this guest operating system.
  • vix error code = 21001

Since the freebsd.iso cdrom image for vmware-tools is nowhere to be found, we can fix this by installing open-vm-tools for FreeBSD on which pfSsense is based.

1. pfSense shell

On the ESXi web admin open up the pfSsense console and select 8 for shell

2. Pkg

FreeBSD packages are managed with pkg.

Let’s see if when can find an available open-vm-tools package in the repos:

pkg search open-vm-tools

To my surprise 2 packages showed up:

open-vm-tools-nox11-10.2.5_1,2 Open VMware tools for FreeBSD VMware guests
pfSense-pkg-Open-VM-Tools-10.1.0,1 pfSense package Open-VM-Tools

The first one didn’t do much, but the pfSense-pkg-Open-VM-Tools package did the trick!

To install:

pkg install pfSense-pkg-Open-VM-Tools

After this, exit out of the shell and reboot by selecting option 5.

ESXi shows VMware-tools as installed!

Now we can gracefully start and stop as well as configure autostart for the pfSense virtual machine from the ESXi admin interface among other nice things.