Top Best Methods to Update VMTools
VMTools are very necessary for Guest OS functionality, so they always needed to be updated. We have seen updating vmtools resolves many performance issues with regards to the Virtual Machine. VMTools version is dependent on ESXi as the installer is located locally with in the host. Each ESXi host has a storage location for VM Tools installers, which is a configurable option and visibly referenced by the /productLocker symlink.VM Tools status for any given VM is always in the context of the underlying host.
Below are the Best ways to Update VMTools:
Automatic Update on VM boot:
The simplest way to keep VM Tools up to date is to check a box and forget about managing this element of infrastructure. Upon VM reboot, such as after installing guest OS patches, VM Tools status will be checked and an update installed if needed. In many cases, this will result in one additional reboot after VM Tools installation completes.This approach may be viable for less-critical workloads, perhaps labs or test/dev environments. You will find this option under VM settings.
Mounting Installer through vSphere UI:
In the vSphere Web Client, when a VM indicates that VM Tools are outdated an adjacent button can be used to automatically initiate an update. This can be done interactively or in a completely hands-off fashion. In the latter case, administrators also have the option of suppressing any potential reboots on Windows VMs – this is a good option that enables coordination of reboots required after routine guest OS patching.
Important note for guests other than Windows and Linux: Solaris, FreeBSD, and Mac OS VM Tools can only be updated using the manual interactive method. There is currently no automatic Tools update for these guests.
Going a step further, it is also possible to select multiple VMs in the Web Client UI and initiate a VM Tools update on all of them at once.
Upgrading Through VMware Update Manager:
VMware Update Manager (VUM) has two very different roles to play when it comes to updating VM Tools. The first one has to do with fetching updated VM Tools ISOs in the form of the ‘tools-light’ VIB that is offered when needed in the normal ESXi patch stream. This patch is then pushed out to all managed hosts according to baselines established by administrators. Once this occurs, individual VMs will begin to detect that a new version of VM Tools is available and will be eligible for update.
The second role VUM has in managing VM Tools is to trigger updates for individual VMs according to baselines.
In one mode, VUM can be used to make a bulk configuration change to multiple VMs so that a Tools update is checked and performed as necessary on each guest reboot.
The other mode VUM uses is to trigger a VM Tools update either immediately or at a scheduled time, just as an administrator can do manually .
In-guest Update – Delegating Control to App Owners:
For scenarios where application owners demand tight control over activities that occur in the guest OS, there is an option to allow in-guest updates of VM Tools. A tray icon in Windows will indicate that an update is available, and the VM Tools configuration dialog box will permit interactive initiation of an update at a convenient time.
For equivalent functionality from a command-line utility, vmware-toolbox-cmd is offered for Linux as well as Windows guests.
Enable guest-initiated updates by modifying the isolation.tools.guestInitiatedUpgrade.disable VM setting, which can be done easily to one or more VMs with PowerCLI:
get-vm VM-NAME | New-AdvancedSetting -Name isolation.tools.guestInitiatedUpgrade.disable -Value FALSE -Force
Bulk Updates Through PowerCLI Scripting:
In very large environments or for those that have established more mature operational processes, PowerCLI provides a powerful option for updating VM Tools. This approach can target particular groups of VMs in many convenient ways, such as by cluster, by guest OS version, tags, VM state, or other vSphere attributes.
Source of Above Post is VMware Blogs: