I ran into the same problem on Vmware fusion 4 a few days ago using Ubuntu 12.04 as guest (Mac OS 10.6.8 as host). The short answer (my solution, at least) is
- DON'T install VMWare Fusion's supplied VMware tools; they don't work.
- instead, use Ubuntu apt-get (or the Synaptic user interface) to install open-vm-tools, the open source version of the vmware tools. They DO work.
- I had to manually mount my Shared Folders.
For example, if you have a shared folder called projects, do the following
sudo mkdir /mnt/hgfs
sudo mkdir /mnt/hgfs/projects
sudo mount -t vmhgfs .host:/projects /mnt/hgfs/projects
Once you've verified this works (ls /mnt/hgfs/projects), you can add the appropriate line to your fstab
.host:/projects /mnt/hgfs/projects vmhgfs defaults,ttl=5,uid=1000,gid=1000 0 0
I spent hours trying all the solutions and advice that people described on the web for getting Fusion's "Install vwmware tools" to support shared folders. As the previous poster said, this requires build-essential, kernel headers etc. but I had no success. Finally I started probing the kernel modules and saw that vmhgfs support was NOT being loaded. Then I looked carefully at what the vmware tools install script was doing, and saw buried in a slough of messages that the vmhgfs code had compile errors. Basically, vmware's code is broken on more recent linux kernel versions; apparently this has been going on for years. I am baffled; does this mean vmware hasn't fixed these problems (or at least the latest ones)? Or does it mean vmware fusion 4 just keeps using an old version of the vmware install tools code? The thing that's really annoying is the vmware tools install reports successful installation; you really have to dig through its avalanche of messages to realize that there might be a problem with vmhgfs support. As far as I can see, the vmware tools install method is the worst of both worlds: on the one hand it requires compiling a bunch of source code, so it exposes you to all the fragility and total lack of transparency of that process; on the other hand, it tries to be an "automagic" installer, which is only OK if "it just works". Instead it fails silently and leaves you with a system that doesn't work and no usable information about where to start trying to fix it. Thank god for open source and the inclusion of open-vm-tools in the Ubuntu package manager. It works great.