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VMware Workstation virtual machines running slow in 2 GB of RAM compare to 1 GB of RAM

Posted on 2009-05-17
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Last Modified: 2012-06-22
Hi.
I am using VMware Workstation 6.5.2 build-156735 on Windows Vista Host having 4 GB of RAM. The problem is that upto 1 GB of RAM the virtual machines are running fine, but if I increase the RAM to 2 GB, they are getting terribly slow. I really can't understand why is this happening? Can anyone help me out to resolve this problem?
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Question by:hchabria
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by:ddanonimity
ID: 24406619
This is because you are decreasing the amount of memory for the windows VISTA machine to run in while increasing the required resources needed to run the VMWare machine. Not only will it be using the 2GB of memory you have dedicated to it but it will also be taking resources from the 2GB remaining to run the VM ware software. In addition to this windows vista requires 1-2GB of memory to run smoothly. This would leave you with a bit of a memory shortage for the overall machine.
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by:hchabria
ID: 24406682
Hi ddanonimity,

Thank you for your prompt answer. As per as your solution the 4 GB VISTA machine will get slow if I run virtual machine having 2 GB of RAM.
But what will be the status of the VMWare Virtual Mahine itself? Will it also get slow?
I have tested that if I run two virtual machines simultaneously each having 1 GB of RAM then these machines (virtual machines) are working fine.
If I increase the memory to 2 GB (shutting down the another one), then the virtual machine is getting tremendously slow compare to 1 GB.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24406712
In VMware, select Edit VM settings before opening the machine. Notice that there is a blue arrow in the memory settings. You cannot use more memory than the blue arrow (less than 1Gb for all my machines) or you will get memory swapping (disk usage) and it will get slow. This is similar to ddanonimity's post, said in a different way. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 24406724
The reason as to why your VMs are slownig down is not because of the VM RAM but the inability of the Vista Host to run your Guests efficiently.

Even though the BIOS detects 4 GB, the OS (assuming that its WIndows Vista 32-Bit) can maximum detect only 3.25 GB.

What applications are you running in addition to VMware Workstation inside the Vista Host ?
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by:Qlemo
ID: 24406818
I've got 3.5 GB in Vista 32 ;-) Depends on the hardware if you can go that high.

The effect as described correspond to my experience. A 2GB VM runs slower than a 1GB VM, if running on a 32bit host. The less memory VMs have (as long it is enough for the programs they run), the better they run.

VMs run in User mode (AFAIK) to prevent them from effecting the host's kernel; User mode can address 2GB without using tricks like AWE or PAE  - which is memory mapping with memory windows, and reduces performance - , so this is why it is not recommended to use such a big VM on 32bit hosts.

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by:hchabria
ID: 24406860
Hi arunraju,

Nothing special memory consuming softwares are running inside the Visa Host except MS Office 2007. Please clear me the following facts:

If I run two virtual machines simultaneously each having 1 GB of RAM then these machines (virtual machines) are working fine. Why is this happening? Because in any way these machines are consuming alltotal 2 GB of RAM.

If I increase the memory to 2 GB (shutting down the another one), then the virtual machine runnig with 2 GB RAM is getting tremendously slow compare to 1 GB.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24406873
Did you check my note about about memory swapping? The setting relates to a single machine and I continue to think that is the reason why.
... Thinkpads_User
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by:hchabria
ID: 24406881
Hi thinkpads_user,

Attached is the snap shot of VMWare virtual machine memory indicator. Need your expert comment in this case.
VMWare-Memory-Indicator.jpg
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24406898
hchabria - Thanks for posting that. That is substantially more VM Memory than I see allowed for my VM's. I also have a 4Gb machine.  I also note that your setting is higher than the recommended setting. You might try the recommended setting and see if that improves performance. I generally work at the recommended setting for my VM's and do not experience any particular problem. .. Thinkpads_User
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by:Qlemo
ID: 24406939
2x 1GB = Two vmware-vmx processes, each allowed 2GB for User mode memory - good.
1x 2GB = One vmware-vmx process at max. of 2GB for User mode memory  - bad.

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by:hchabria
ID: 24406962
Qlemo- could you please explain your last comment?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24407011
On top of Qlemo's comment, I reflected on your settings picture. Why is your installation of VMware allowing you to use more memory than you have? My installation will not allow that. Possibly you need to uninstall, restart, and reinstall VMware itself. At the least, I do not think your global settings are correct. I have had VMware Workstation running for nearly 10 years and it has never allowed me to set more memory than I had ... Thnkpads_User
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by:Qlemo
ID: 24407096
Yes, that's a point. The host has 4GB RAM. VMWare allows for 5.5GB, so I'm pretty certain massive swapping is allowed in VMWare host setup - absolutely not recommended at all times! However, my VM hosts settings do not allow to go over physical memory limit, too.

1GB VMs do not have any problem managing their memory, as they are below the 2GB User mode memory limit. If you assign 2GB to a VM, it hits that limit, and swapping or extensive memory remapping will occur.

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by:hchabria
ID: 24407556
So according to you there are some problem in VMWare memory itself as it should not show 5520 MB of memory with 4 GB host memory. Will the problem be solved if I reinstall the VMWare?

With 4 GB of RAM what should be the Recommended memory that will be showing on the Virtual Machine Settings (green triangle indicator)?


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by:Qlemo
ID: 24407563
The recommended memory is based on the guest OS, not the available memory.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24407565
I see a maximum on my installation of less than 1 Gb for the recommended level (green triangle
.. Thinkpads_User
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by:hchabria
ID: 24407600
Please confirm me whether I should reinstall the VMWare or not.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24407607
Yes, you should reinstall VMware. Your global specs are out of whack with your machine. Reinstall will cause VMware to clean itself up and it should help. No guarantee, of course, but it can't hurt, either. Make sure you have your VM's backed up before you uninstall, just in case.
... Thinkpads_User
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by:Qlemo
ID: 24407609
Just have a look into the VM host settings. It should give you a minimum, maximum and actual value for overall memory to be allowed to be used for VMs.

I don't think reinstalling VMWare is necessary.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24407621
I am concerned that VMware is saying it can allocate over 5Gb of memory in a 4Gb machine (Settings picture above). That is incorrect and (at least for myself) I have never seen that before. That is why I recommend reinstall (never any harm done for me). .. Thinkpads_User
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by:Qlemo
ID: 24407628
Not agreed, thinkpad_user. I'm not certain about the statement VMWare will clean itself up. As far as I can remember, VMWare will not purge the settings. If you upgrade VMWare, it wants to deinstall old and install new version - and you do not loose your setup (besides network info).

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by:Qlemo
ID: 24407637
No harm done - that's right. But if that helps - don't know. However, it is no big deal, and should be tried before any complicated and maybe dangerous other option.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24407640
Note that I said a re-install is not guaranteed to fix this problem, merely that it cannot hurt. I just have never seen a VMware screen that says I can allocate more memory to the VM than exists in the machine.  That should be corrected from my point of view. .... Thinkpads_User
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by:Qlemo
ID: 24407644
Agreed
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by:hchabria
ID: 24407673
Let me reinstall VMWare. I'll let you know about the status.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24416976
Hello hchabria - Any update?  ... Thinkpads_User
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by:hchabria
ID: 24418618
Sorry for the late response. I have reinstalled but it is showing the same memory status on 4 GB Vista host. I installed in another machine having 512 MB of RAM and the screen shot is attached herewith. Now tell me what to do?
512-MB-Setting.bmp
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by:Qlemo
ID: 24419506
Could you show us the VM Host settings (where the max. available memory for all VMs is set)?
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by:hchabria
ID: 24419616
Qlemo - are you asking for the Vista machine (4 GB) setting?
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by:Qlemo
ID: 24420129
Not exactly. You can set up VM Workstation on the host, and one of those settings is how much memory should be available to all VMs together, and if memory might be partitially or completely paged out.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24421204
Thanks for the update. So the reinstallation doesn't seemed to have harmed anything. The memory allocation picture four posts back shows a proper memory setup. So I am not sure what is next. Why not just use the Vista Machine from the original post at 1Gb? You said that runs fine, so is that not how to proceed? ... Thinkpads_User
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by:hchabria
ID: 24423140
Thinkpads_user - the mimory allocation picture five posts back is showing the VMware memory setting on a 512 MB host machine. Here also the maximum memory is showing more than the actual memory of the host. It is showing 748 MB maximum memory. I really don't know what to do.
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by:hchabria
ID: 24423155
Qlemo - could you please explain your last clarification?
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by:Qlemo
ID: 24423395
I do not have VM Workstation at hand now, so I can't tell you exactly where to search, but there is an option to set up what I told you. It's in some VM host menu, not VM guest.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 24423481
Open VMware Workstation, then Edit -> Preferences -. Memory Tab.  In there is the suggested maximum allowable memory for all virtual machines. Maybe that is set too high for you. I checked my own setting and it will not allow me set beyond the maximum memory on the slider (which is less that the memory available on the physical computer). I think this is the setting Qlemo is pointing you to. ... Thinkpads_User
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by:hchabria
ID: 24423660
Attached is the preference memory setting.
VMware-Memory-Preference-Setting.jpg
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 24423912
What I don't understand is that:
1. In the picture above, it says the maximum for all machines is 2761Mb (fine, corrolates with my machine)
2. In the picture near the beginning, it says you can allot 2048Mb for this machine (fine), but the slider allows you to allocate 5520Mb. This seems incorrect and certainly doesn't tally with my machien.

So leave that all behind now, the picture near the beginning recommends 384Mb for the machine, and the maximum 2660Mb for the one machine is the same as the maxiumum for ALL machines.

Why not run much closer to the recommended level now that you know all this, especially since the machine runs better at 1Gb than at 2Gb?
... Thinkpads_User

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by:hchabria
ID: 24424081
I really don't know what is the reson. However, if I increase my host machine RAM to 6 GB, will it be sufficient for running 2 GB virtual machine? Please be sure to confirm me because it requires investing money in purchasing extra 2 GB of RAM. Actually the software which I am trying to install in virtual machine, requires minimum 2 GB RAM.
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by:Qlemo
ID: 24424116
With a 32bit machine and standard OS (not Enterprise or Datacenter or ..., all meaning expensive Server OS), you are not able to address that much memory, only up to 4GB.
See here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778.aspx
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hchabria earned 0 total points
ID: 24424802
So, ultimately there is no solution for this case..........am I right?
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by:Qlemo
Qlemo earned 250 total points
ID: 24424856
If it's just the installer which tests for 2GB requirement, I would allow for 2GB while installing, and reduce later. If the machine indeed needs 2GB, than your are lost - put a real PC there.
2GB VMs are found usually on 64bit Server systems, which have enough RAM power to manage this "blindfolded".
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