Friday, September 4, 2015

VMWare Tools Installer Complaining About Ethernet Driver on Linux Guests

When installing the VMWare Tools on Linux Guests, we sometimes see that the installer of the VMWare Tools complains about Ethernet drivers,

The vmxnet driver is no longer supported on kernels 3.3 and greater. Please
upgrade to a newer virtual NIC. (e.g., vmxnet3 or e1000e)

which does not necessarily mean that the Ethernet drivers are not vmxnet3 or e1000e. My experience indicates that it sometimes complains about the Ethernet driver's not being vmxnet3 or e1000e even if the driver is one of the two.

First, we can determine what Ethernet driver is loaded by using lspci command on the Linux virtual machine as follows,

lspci |  grep "Ethernet controller"

As the example below, if the output indicates that the Ethernet driver is vmxnet3 or e1000e, we can safely ignore the complain.

$ lspci |  grep "Ethernet controller"
03:00.0 Ethernet controller: VMware VMXNET3 Ethernet Controller (rev 01)

However, if the Ethernet driver is not one of the two, it is better to change the virtual Ethernet driver to be one of the two. VMWare has a Knowledge Base article on how to manually configure Ethernet adapter for a virtual machine. Following the article, we can configure the Ethernet driver in the steps below,

  1. Power off the virtual machine
  2. Locate and open the virtual machine configuration file (.vmx) for editing on the host
  3. Look for Ethernet configuration, by searching "ethernet" in the configuration file
  4. If you find a configuration entry as follows,
          ethernet0.virtualDev = "vmxnet"
          ethernet0.virtualDev = "e1000"
    you should replace "vmxnet" or "e1000" by "vmxnet3" or "e1000e".

    Be aware that the above shows an example for the first Ethernet adapter, i.e., "ethernet0". If you have multiple Ethernet adapters, you should repeat the above steps for all Ethernet adapters.

    If you do not find a configuration entry as such, you need to add the entry to the configuration file, i.e.,
          ethernet0.virtualDev = "vmxnet3"
          ethernet0.virtualDev = "e1000e"
    Repeat the step all Ethernet adapters.
  5. Save the configuration file and reboot the Linux guest
  6. Use lspci on the Linux guest to confirm that desired Ethernet driver is loaded.

You may wonder among "vmxnet3" or "e1000e", which one you should choose. According to this article, it appears that the better choice is "vmxnet3".


  1. Thank you very much, it works as descibed.

  2. Thank you.
    I switched to vmxnet3 but as you said, vmware still complains with this warning message.

  3. 2019 - RHEL8 + VMWare would not detect any network devices so I started looking at vmware-tools in case there was an issue with the install. I noticed the vmxnet warning above and figured the solution here couldn't hurt. I added the line to my .vmx file, rebooted virtual machine, and voila! The network device was detected after the reboot! Many thanks!!!