Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Get rid of that pesky VMware Tools update notification...

I have enough issues with the "VMware Tools out of date" notification appearing in the VI client every time an ESX patch is applied... it's almost useless information, as generally there are no support issues with running the RTM version of Tools regardless of the patch level of the host.

But even more annoying is the default behaviour of the VI 3.5 version of Tools, which enables a visual notification in the systray (on Windows guests) if an update is available, which is controlled by the checkbox below:

Too bad if you happen to certify particular driver (ie Tools) versions with coporate SOE versions, like every large enterprise on this planet does. And say goodbye to your standards when a bleary eyed admin sees this little yellow exclamation in the systray at 2am and gets the idea that upgrading VMware Tools may solve whatever problem they got woken up for. Hopefully they'll remember to raise a retrospective change request after some sleep. I won't even begin to imagine what the curious VDI user might do.

Fire up your registry monitoring tool of choice and clear the checkbox, and you will invariably be directed towards a modification in HKCU, meaning if you want to effect a machine wide change you would need to load the default user hive and mod the value in there, as well as the all users hive.

Good news is that you can more easily control the display on a machine wide basis by modifying the (default) value of 'HKLM\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware Tools'. Setting it to a DWORD value of 0 is the equivalent of clearing the checkbox (yes i know by default it's a REG_SZ - just turn it into a DWORD).

For anyone out there even half as lazy as me, copy this into your install script after the tools installer has been run:

REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware Tools" /V "" /T REG_DWORD /D "0x0" /F