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Starting vmtoolsd as a service on Red Hat / CentOS

If you're like me;  you may manage virtual servers within vSphere.. Linux ones.  Red Hat ones, in particular, but this applies to CentOS as well.

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away, the vmware-tools setup procedure installed the necessary init script for you.  Lately though, for new images that I've been building - those init scripts aren't getting installed by the vmware tools installation package.  So they don't start up on reboot.  VMware based backups failed; clock were going askew, you name it.   I need that daemon started on reboot.

Without a SysV init script handy, I had to roll my own.. and this is the result;  despite having worked with Linux for well over 15 years, setting up SysV init scripts remain somewhat of a black art.  The ones on our older system were more complicated than we needed.  I was aiming for something simpler and portable.

With RHEL 7, the rumor mills are abuzz with systemd so that may change. But, I'm a practical system administrator, and it isn't here yet...  Yet.

Anyways, here it is;  place this script @ /etc/rc.d/init.d as 'vmtoolsd' then run `chkconfig vmtoolsd on` and `service vmtoolsd start` (if you change the script name, then change chkconfig and service commands accordingly):

#   vmtoolsd          Start/stop the vmware tools daemon
# chkconfig:  2345 90 60
# description: vmtoolsd is a daemon that starts up.  for some reason, it
#              doesn't include a sysv init startup file in the latest release.
#              so i have to write this

# Provides: vmtoolsd
# Required-Start: $local_fs $syslog
# Required-Stop: $local_fs $syslog
# Default-Start: 2345
# Default-Stop: 90
# Short-Description: Run vmware tools daemon
# Description:  Yadda yadda.


# Source function library
. /etc/rc.d/init.d/functions

start() {
    # Ensure no one has access
    if [ $UID -ne 0 ]; then
        echo "User has insufficient privileges."
        exit 4

    [ -x $exec ] || exit 5

    echo -n $"Starting $prog: "
    daemon $prog --background=/var/run/
    [ $retval -eq 0 ] && touch $lockfile


stop() {
    if [ $UID -ne 0 ]; then
        echo "User has insufficient privileges."
        exit 4

    echo -n $"Stopping $prog: "
    if [ -n "`pidfileofproc $exec`" ]; then
        killproc $exec
        failure $"Stopping $prog"
    [ $retval -eq 0 ] && rm -f $lockfile

restart() {

reload() {
    echo -n $"Reloading $prog: "
    if [ -n "`pidfileofproc $exec`" ]; then
        killproc $exec -HUP
        failure $"Reloading $prog"

rh_status() {
    status -p /var/run/ $prog

rh_status_q() {
    rh_status >/dev/null 2>&1

case "$1" in
        rh_status_q && exit 0
        rh_status_q || exit 0
        echo $"Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart|status}"
        exit 2
exit $?


  1. Thank you very much for this post. The script is very userfull for me.
    I have centos 6.4 64bits and i installed : vmware-tools-repo-RHEL6-9.0.5-1.el6.x86_64.rpm
    After the installation i received this error :
    [ warning] [vmsvc] Hostinfo_Daemonize: Lock held on PID path [/var/run/], error 11, not daemonizing.
    and using ps there is´nt any process called: vmtools.
    Using your scripts it start really well.

  2. After I put the script in place on my test RHEL 6.5 test server - Vmtools starts after boot, but only stays up momentarily and goes down again. Still trying to troubleshoot that.

  3. Appears Upstart was taking it right back down - although the upstart process would not start the vmtools like it was intended. I moved the /etc/init/vmware-tools.conf file out of /etc/init and vmtools stayed up after boot. Thank you for the script and workaround this will be very helpful until either vmware or Red Hat resolve the issue.

  4. I set all this up on a CentOS 6.5 x64 VM. chkconfig adds the entry ok, but when I try 'service vmtoolsd start' or any parameter actually, I get this error;

    env: /etc/init.d/vmtoolsd: No such file or directiory

    Yes, vmtoolsd is in /usr/sbin, and I can start it manually, just not via the script

  5. The vmtoolsd script needs to be placed in /etc/init.d then run the chkconfig again. It will create the necessary symlinks in /etc/rc.x (for the corresponding runlevel).

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. The Init scripts are not there because:
    "the /sbin/init program (init) from the sysvinit package has been replaced with Upstart in recent Linux distributions"

    VMware Tools init script is missing from the /etc/init.d directory on Linux virtual machines (2015685)


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