Let's get started. I am assuming that you have setup your Ubuntu 64 or 32 properly. When you created the machine you chose the correct version of the OS. Why is this important? Well the tools are mounted to the machine based on the choice at the beginning of creation. Let's say you said Solaris Unix and then install Ubuntu. When the tools mount they will provide your virtual machine with Solaris tools and not linux tools. Word to the wise is choose the closest description that matches your machine. Since you did this right I will continue.
Step 1. Once you have powered on the virtual machine and have the prompt. Right click on the machine on the inventory to the left. Then goto Guest > Install/Upgrade VMware Tools.
Step 2. Now log into the machine. Now I typically do these command as root but you can also do "sudo" as long as you have the rights to run sudo. Again it might be easier just to log in as root just for this exercise. Copy the below line into the terminal window and then press enter.
Step 3. Nothing happens? Well it did, remember your in the terminal window but the system did/should have looked for the VMware Linux tools and mounted them in the proper directory. Now we have to go and copy the tools to a folder and begin the install.
mkdir -p /mnt/cdrom && mount -t iso9660 -o ro /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
Step 4. Navigate to the tools. Type the below command
Note: You should be able to now type "ls" to see what files are in this directory.
Step 5. Now copy the tools from the CD ROM to a folder so that we can begin to install.
Note: USERNAME is a folder that you probably created when you setup Ubuntu so replace this with your username
cp VMwareTools-8.3.2-299420.tar.gz /home/USERNAME
Step 6. UnTar the file to begin the install.
Step 7. Run the installer
tar -xzf VMwareTools-8.3.2-299420.tar.gz
Step 8. Check vCenter/ESXi. Once the tools have been installed your vCenter or VI Client should show information about the virtual machine like IP, hostname, etc. If not then try rebooting. If it still doesn't work then reply to this post.
cd /home/USERNAME/vmware-tools-distrib ./vmware-install.pl
Why should I have VMware tools? Your machine will run better, vMotion better and also backup better with the ability for vCenter to directly communicate with the virtual machine, good luck and hope this helps.