I tried to compile VMware tools on my server. I compiled the kernel myself, I didn't use RPM. As VMware tools needs the kernel header files, I executed the following command in my kernel folder source:

make headers_install INSTALL_HDR_PATH=/tmp/header/

All files are exported to /tmp/header/include/. When I start the vmware-config-tools.pl and I specify the folder /tmp/header/, VMware tools says:

The path "/tmp/header/include/" is not a valid path to the 3.3.0 kernel

What is wrong here?

Edit: I'm running RHEL 6, kernel 3.3, trying to compile VMware tools for ESXi 4.1 & 5

  • /tmp is frequently cleaned out (even each boot).
    – vonbrand
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 23:37
  • Yes I know, but that is just for the test.
    – Hugo
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 9:21

1 Answer 1


vmware-tools need the full kernel headers.

probably that make headers_install is not exporting everything that vmware needs. try copying the real kernel source and test. if it works, remove all files except the .h

find /tmp/headers-full -not -name \*.h -delete

and test again. if it works, compare both header trees to see what is missing

  • Hello, as you advise me I took all the kernel source and the installer is still complaining. I think vmware is expecting some special path for the kernel headers such as /lib/modules/ /usr/src/ etc... As I am not able to decode all the function in the perl script I will never found the solution...!
    – Hugo
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 16:48

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