Solved: couldn’t reinstall or remove VMWare Tools in Fusion 11.x on Windows 10

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For over 12 months, Fusion’s VMWare Tools in a 64-bit Windows 10 Home vm wouldn’t update and I just left it alone since shared folders with macOS worked and so did other stuff.

 

But after updating to Fusion 11.5.6 and Windows 10 to v2004, I decided to fix VMWare Tools.

 

Neither reinstalling or removing worked (using the control panel uninstall or CCleaner): an error always appeared in the wizard and complained a file was missing in a temp folder that didn’t exist.

 

Lots of people have posted about this over the years.

 

Per some advice in tech forums, I trashed the vmware folders in Windows 10 (program files, including common files) but it didn’t help.

 

Some tech forums also recommended deleting specific registry keys buy my Windows 10 registry didn’t have them.

 

What fixed it:

– in registry, searching for vmware tools (with the option “Match whole string only” checked) and deleting each key containing that phrase.

– Rebooting Windows 10

 

After rebooting, Fusion’s “Virtual Machine” pull-down menu showed “Cancel reinstallation of VMWare Tools” (or maybe it was “Cancel updating VMWare Tools”), which showed Fusion was automatically trying to install VMWare Tools again. But after about 30 minutes that menu line was still gray with no other sign of progress.

 

In File Explorer, I could see a virtual DVD was mounted as D: and contained the VMWare Tools installer I’d labored with before. In D: somewhere (I don’t remember exactly) I  double-clicked setup64.exe and the all-too-familiar installation Wizard appeared. But this time the Wizard completed — first removing then installing VMWare Tools. It then prompted to restart Windows 10, and after that VMWare Tools was fine.

 

Deleting “vmware tools” registry keys and maybe also deleting some vmware directories in Windows did the trick.

 

Too bad VMware support doesn’t offer a removal tool since many people wrestle with whacked VMWare Tools installations.

 

If I had to try it all again, I’d start with deleting all registry keys with vmware tools then rebooting Windows and manually running the installation wizard again. That would’ve saved about 7 hours.

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