From the Vmware 4.0 manual p. 89:
VMware Tools for Linux Guests
1. Power on the virtual machine.
2. After the guest operating system has started, prepare your virtual machine to install VMware Tools.
Choose File > Install VMware Tools.
The remaining steps take place inside the virtual machine.
3. Be sure the guest operating system is running in text mode. You cannot install VMware Tools while X is running.
4. As root (su -), mount the VMware Tools virtual CD-ROM image, change to a working directory (for example, /tmp), uncompress the installer, then unmount the CD-ROM image.
Note: You do not use an actual CD-ROM to install VMware Tools, nor do you need to download the CD-ROM image or burn a physical CD-ROM of this image file. The VMware Workstation software contains an ISO image that looks like a CD-ROM to your guest operating system. This image contains all the files
needed to install VMware Tools in your guest operating system.
90 VMware Workstation 4 Userís Manual
Note: Some Linux distributions use different device names or organize the /dev directory differently. If your CD-ROM drive is not /dev/cdrom, modify the following commands to reflect the conventions used by your distribution.
mount -t iso9660 /dev/cdrom /mnt
tar zxf /mnt/vmware-linux-tools.tar.gz
5. Run the VMware Tools installer.
6. Log out of the root account.
7. Start X and your graphical environment.
8. In an X terminal, launch the VMware Tools background application.
Note: You may run VMware Tools as root or as a normal user. To shrink virtual disks, you must run VMware Tools as root (su -).
Starting VMware Tools Automatically
You may find it helpful to configure your guest operating system so VMware Tools starts when you start your X server. The steps for doing so vary depending on your Linux distribution and your desktop environment. Check your operating system
documentation for the appropriate steps to take.
For example, in a Red Hat Linux 7.1 guest using GNOME, follow these steps.
1. Open the Startup Programs panel in the GNOME Control Center.
Main Menu (click the foot icon in the lower left corner of the screen) > Programs
> Settings > Session > Startup Programs
2. Click Add.
3. In the Startup Command field, enter vmware-toolbox.
4. Click OK, click OK again, then close the GNOME Control Center.
The next time you start X, VMware Tools starts automatically.