vmTools 10.3.x installation fails on server core/other os with failed to run CustomAction VM_PostInstall scripts

the VMinst.log/toolsinst.log did not have much information on the failure
Start by running msi debug logging:

msiexec /i "C:\MyPackage\toolsxxxx.msi" /L*V "C:\log\msi.log"
	MSI (s) (FC:F4) [08:04:42:754]: PROPERTY CHANGE: Adding VM_PostInstall.A05FAB36_E570_4B23_8805_3633A16E8D19 property. Its value is '"C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware CAF\pme\install\postInstall.bat" "C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\VMware CAF\pme\" "C
	:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware CAF\pme\"'.
	Action ended 8:04:42: VM_PostInstall_SD.A05FAB36_E570_4B23_8805_3633A16E8D19. Return value 1.
	MSI (s) (FC:F4) [08:04:42:754]: Skipping action: VM_StopVMwareProcs.869A7E00_8665_0000_83A8_EF0F76CF0001 (condition is false)
	MSI (s) (FC!8C) [08:04:46:207]: Closing MSIHANDLE (60) of type 790531 for thread 4492
	CustomAction VM_PostInstall.A05FAB36_E570_4B23_8805_3633A16E8D19 returned actual error code 1603 (note this may not be 100% accurate if translation happened inside sandbox)
	MSI (s) (FC:BC) [08:04:46:207]: Closing MSIHANDLE (58) of type 790536 for thread 5876
	Action 8:04:46: Rollback. Rolling back action:
	Rollback: VM_PostInstall.A05FAB36_E570_4B23_8805_3633A16E8D19
	MSI (s) (FC:F4) [08:04:46:238]: Executing op: ActionStart(Name=VM_PostInstall.A05FAB36_E570_4B23_8805_3633A16E8D19,,)
	MSI (s) (FC:F4) [08:04:46:238]: Executing op: ProductInfo(ProductKey={F32C4E7B-2BF8-4788-8408-824C6896E1BB},ProductName=VMware Tools,PackageName={F32C4E7B-2BF8-4788-8408-824C6896E1BB}.msi,Language=1033,Version=167968773,Assignment=1,ObsoleteArg=0,ProductIcon=VmwareIcon,,PackageCode={66C1BF82-7ADE-472F-B0AE-1E6A85835452},,,InstanceType=0,LUASetting=0,RemoteURTInstalls=0,ProductDeploymentFlags=3)
	Rollback: Copying new files

in order to work this around, run the msi installer excluding vmware CAF

setup64.exe /S /v"/qn ADDLOCAL=ALL REMOVE=CAF /l*v C:\temp\vmtools-install.log" 

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  1. Thanks, saved my day.
    How did you come up with this solution and why wouldn’t CAF work with Core/OtherOS on 10.3.X? Is this a known bug (is there a KB) from VMware? All I could find was a similar issue for ESXi 5.0. Do you know if this will be an issue for all Core/OtherOS on 10.3.X or just some?


    1. Glad to know this helped.

      My team ran into several of these failures on server core with the active directory role installed. I do not know the specifics as we have had several successful install’s too.
      ATM, all I am able to tell is the failure is because the msi installer invokes the external command (a bat file if remember right) with returns an unexpected response forcing the installer to roll back.

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