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VMware Workstation on a Windows Host
Note: The items in this section describe performance of VMware Workstation on a Windows host. For tips on configuring VMware Workstation on a Linux host, see VMware Workstation on a Linux Host.
Note: The information in this section was created to address scheduling problems with Windows NT. Although Windows NT is no longer supported as a host OS, VMware currently has no corresponding information for Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 hosts.
The process scheduler on Windows NT does not necessarily schedule processes in a way that allows you to get the best performance from your particular combination of virtual machines and applications running on the host. VMware Workstation on a Windows host provides configuration options that let you adjust scheduling priorities to meet your needs.
These configuration options are available from the Edit > Preferences > Priority and VM > Settings > Options > Advanced menu options. These menu items allow you to specify either high or normal priority when the mouse and keyboard are grabbed by the virtual machine and either normal or low priority when they are not grabbed.
Global priority is taken as the default across all virtual machines. Local priority overrides the global settings for just the specific virtual machine where you make the changes.
Pay particular attention to the grabbed: HIGH - ungrabbed: NORMAL and grabbed: NORMAL - ungrabbed: LOW settings.
The grabbed: HIGH - ungrabbed: NORMAL setting is useful if you have many background processes or applications and you do not care if they run with fairly low relative priority while VMware Workstation is in the foreground. In return, you get a very noticeable performance boost using a VMware Workstation virtual machine while another virtual machine is running or while some other processor-intensive task (a compile, for example) is running in the background.
The reverse is true of the grabbed: NORMAL - ungrabbed: LOW setting. If your host machine feels too sluggish when a virtual machine is running in the background, you can direct the virtual machine to drop its priority when it does not have control of the mouse and keyboard. As with the high setting, this is a heavy-handed change of priority, so the virtual machine and any background applications run much more slowly.
Windows Host Disk Caching
On Windows Host, the Disk Properties Policies page associated with each hard drive provides a checkbox concerning enabling write caching on the disk and, in some cases, enabling advanced performance on the disk. Checking one or both of these boxes can improve host disk performance in general, and checking them for the host disks containing VMware virtual disk files can improve VMware disk performance in particular, especially when VMware is making heavy use of the disk.
Caution: Power outage or equipment failure could result in data loss or corruption with this option enabled.