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VMware Workstation 3.2 Troubleshooting
  [an error occurred while processing this directive]Troubleshooting

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Troubleshooting Performance Issues

Troubleshooting Performance Issues

General Performance Issues

General Performance Issues

My virtual machine is extremely slow.

My virtual machine is extremely slow.

There is some overhead in running a guest operating in a virtual machine, but the system should still be very usable. (Note that there is additional overhead in beta distributions because the software is compiled to aid debugging and is not fully optimized for speed.) For optimal performance, make sure you are using the latest released version. If your virtual machine is too slow to be usable check the following:

  • Did you install VMware Tools in the guest operating system?

    If not, do so. The VMware Tools package includes a display driver that has been optimized for the guest operating system running within a virtual machine. If this optimized driver is not installed, the guest operating system will fall back to using a standard VGA device driver that is completely emulated in software and display performance will suffer dramatically.

    VMware Tools packages for Windows, Linux and FreeBSD guests are included with Workstation.

    If VMware Tools is not installed on the guest operating system, check Installing VMware Tools in the Workstation manual for instructions on installing the package in your guest operating system.

  • Did you assign too much memory to the virtual machine and leave none for the host?

    It is possible to starve the host operating system so it doesn't have enough memory to operate efficiently by increasing the amount of memory reserved to run virtual machines above the recommended setting. On Windows hosts, go to Settings > Preferences > Memory to see these settings. On Linux hosts, go to Settings > Reserved Memory.

    If free memory falls below the minimum necessary value (specific to each host computer's configuration), the host operating system will continually free up memory by swapping to disk to maintain that amount of free memory; this in turn causes the virtual machine to run slowly as well. When reserving memory for a virtual machine, you must leave enough memory for the host operating system to operate efficiently.

  • Are you running in full screen mode or in a window?

    You get the best display performance when the virtual machine takes over the full screen. To switch to full screen mode, click the Full Screen button on the Workstation toolbar.

  • Are you using DMA for access to IDE drives on host and guest?

    For details on making these settings, see the Performance Tuning section of the Workstation manual.

  • Is the host unresponsive or hard to interact with while a virtual machine is busy?

    On a Windows host, you may be able to get better responsiveness from the host by decreasing the scheduler priority level of the running virtual machine(s). Lower the priority level using the Settings > Local Priority menu item.

  • Is the virtual machine unresponsive or hard to interact with while the host is busy?

    You may be able to get better responsiveness from the virtual machine by releasing the mouse from the virtual machine (Ctrl-Alt) and increasing the virtual machine's priority level. Raise the priority level using the Settings > Local Priority menu item.

  • Does the virtual machine intermittently halt or become unresponsive?

    If you are not getting a significant fraction of the host processor, check the following:

    • Your host may have CD-ROM autoplay enabled. You should disable that functionality.
    • Your host system configuration may be underpowered. For example, you may not have enough memory to run all the applications and virtual machines you want to run concurrently.
    • Your virtual machine's disk files and any associated files such as redo logs may be mounted on a networked file system. Try running your virtual machine with all the data files stored on local file systems and with no other CPU-consuming applications running. You may also want to reduce the memory size for your virtual machine(s) or add more physical memory to the host machine.
  • Is there a virtual machine running DOS or some other operating system that idles poorly?

    See the DOS idle notes in the Workstation manual's installation notes for DOS and Windows 3.1 guest operating systems.

  • Is an ActiveX desktop used inside a virtual machine running Windows 95 or Windows 98?
  • Are you using animated effects in a Windows guest operating system?

    To increase responsiveness from your Windows guest operating system, disable animated windows, menus and lists by unchecking the option from the Effects tab of the Display Properties dialog.

  • Are you using an unsupported guest operating system?

    See Supported and Unsupported Guest Operating Systems in the Workstation manual for a list of supported operating systems.

    Unsupported operating systems may run very slowly, if they run at all.

  • Are your virtual machines using host-only or NAT networking and on a Windows host?

    Networking performance on your host may slow down when browsing your Windows host and network. VMware Workstation's virtual networking installs two virtual Ethernet interfaces on the host so that your host can access the host-only and NAT virtual networks, which in turn allow your host to access the virtual machines running on those networks and allows those virtual machines to access the host. If you are already connected to a network, you may notice that it takes a little longer to find all the machines on your physical network because the host checks the virtual networks for any virtual machines that may be running.

    If your virtual machines are not using NAT or host-only networking or are not running at the moment, you can disable the virtual network adapters to improve your host's networking and browsing capabilities. Steps follow for each supported Windows host.

    Disabling the Virtual Network Interfaces on a Windows XP Host

    1. Open the Control Panel and double-click Network and Dial-up Settings.
    2. Right-click the host-only adapter and choose Properties.
    3. Click Configure.
    4. In the Device Usage list, select Disable from this HW profile.
    5. Repeat these steps for the NAT adapter.
    6. Click OK twice to exit the dialogs.

      Disabling the Virtual Network Interfaces on a Windows 2000 Host

    7. Open the Control Panel and double-click Network and Dial-up settings.
    8. Right-click the host-only adapter and choose Disable.
    9. Right-click the NAT adapter and choose Disable.

      Disabling the Virtual Network Interfaces on a Windows NT Host

    10. Open the Control Panel and double-click Network.
    11. Click the Bindings tab.
    12. Click All adapters.
    13. Check the host-only and NAT adapters, then click Disable.
    14. Click OK to exit.
Serial port performance on my Linux host machine goes down when a virtual machine is running.

Serial port performance on my Linux host machine goes down when a virtual machine is running.

On a Linux host, Workstation may disable interrupts on the host long enough to cause host UARTs to drop characters intermittently. No corruption will occur, but retries in the software controlling the UART(s) will reduce the data transfer rate of the host.

My Windows host operating system cannot hibernate when a virtual machine is running on the host.

My Windows host operating system cannot hibernate when a virtual machine is running on the host.

If a virtual machine is running on your Windows host and the cursor is grabbed by the virtual machine, the Windows host cannot hibernate. If you want your host to hibernate, make sure the cursor is not grabbed by any virtual machine. To ungrab the cursor, in the virtual machine window, press Ctrl-Alt. Control of the cursor is returned to your host operating system.

Another good way to make sure the cursor is not grabbed by a virtual machine is to minimize all virtual machine windows and click on the host desktop.

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