How to Install VMware Drivers on a non-VMware Machine

This method of installing VMware Drivers is for those who don’t like the idea of cracking the VMware Tools installer and removing the parts that check for VMware based VMs. I guess you could say that this way is more legit, and shouldn’t violate the EULA … although I never had anyone contact me about doing it the other way…

Getting the drivers

VMware released a KB article back in 2018 on how you can extract all of the drivers from the VMware tools installer, without actually installing them. That KB article is here: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2032184

It says that if we run the setup.exe with some extra switches it will extract to a folder and then quit.

setup64.exe /A /P c:\Extract

In my testing it didnt actually extract to that folder, instead a dialog box popped up and asked me what network location I wanted to use, then it extracted and finished. Whatever, that works too!

Now put the extracted contents somewhere on your network where so that the machine you want to install them on can get to them (or zip them and email them to yourself or whatever… bottom line… get them on the machine that you need them on)

Installing all the drivers

Once you have them on the target machine you can use a built in Windows command to install all of the inf files.

First, open an administrator command prompt, then navigate to the VMware\Drivers\ folder.

Next run this command:

pnputil -i -a *.inf /subdirs

run this command in the directory above all of the driver folders

A box or two may pop up and ask you if you really want to install some drivers, click install on those. At the end of the installation it should look something like this:

result of pnputil installing all the VMware drivers

Great! You’re done. You can now add some VMware hardware like a VMXNet3 NIC or a PVSCSI adapter.

If you are using Zerto, you can now try a test failover from a different hypervisor (like Azure, AWS, or Hyper-V) and the drivers will be there and the VM should boot normally.

If you are migrating to VMware from another platform I would encourage you to run the VMware Tools installer so that you get the rest of the Tools services and not just the drivers. But for DR purposes this will get you up and running and you won’t have VMware Tools trying to run while your on Azure, AWS, or Hyper-V 🙂

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