Very slow transfer speeds to virtual machine

I have a virtual Windows Home Server machine running on a Windows 7 host using Vmware Server 2.

When I transfer files to/from the host over the network I get speeds around 10 MB/s but when I try transferring to/from the virtual WHS I only get speeds of ~500KB/s. This makes it unacceptable for transferring my media back and forth and also seems to be preventing me from successfully streaming HD videos.

Why is the VM transfer speed so slow and how can I improve it?
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how is your vmware network configured post its config on here so we can see
yankees9920Author Commented:
It is set up as bridged. Attached is my VMX file.
yankees9920Author Commented:
sorry. here it is.
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vmwarun - ArunCommented:
Have you installed VMware Tools inside the Guest OS ?
yankees9920Author Commented:
Yes, VMware tools is installed and running in the guest os.
In the guest OS the NIC shows up as "VMware Accelerated AMD PCNet Adapter" running at 1 Gbps.
yankees9920Author Commented:
Actually, even when transferring a file from one of the WHS shared folders to another, the transfer speeds start slow (under 1 MB/s) for the first minute and then seem to speed up to 7 MB/s. I am not sure if this is useful info.
yankees9920Author Commented:
I tried uninstalling antivirus software on the host to make sure its not scanning the changing virual disk file, but this made no difference.

Transfer speeds from the host or other desktop to the virtual machine are generally 300-500KB/s instead of the 7-12MB/s I get when I transfer from the host to the desktop (or vice-versa)
Take a look at these 'yankees..': (this is older, but worth looking at)

Looks like this is a somewhat known issue. The 1st KB references 2K3/2K8, but I would try it anyway since Win7 is similar OS to 2K8.

Hopefully something here will help.


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Windows Home Server is a piece of garbage.It's an emasculated SBS 2003 with a WIM backup.
As for your issue:
If you want should have allocated a fixed amount of disk when you first created the VM,not a file that grows.
If you want speed,I would suggest adding a 2nd spindle (separate disk) and having the VM reside there..
And ,what's the amount of memory on the Win7 system?
Are you running 64 bit as a host?
If you think you can run these 2 on 2 or 3 gigs of memory,you better think again.
Rich RumbleSecurity SamuraiCommented:
Try turning off the "Chimney offload"  in the host/2003 and windows 7
start ->run ->cmd
Netsh int ip set chimney DISABLED
VM Nic drivers don't always work that well, you may try installing VmWare on another PC, and copying your VM there to test. How fast are transfers of the same files between other host/guest and the other?
Rich RumbleSecurity SamuraiCommented:
netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled
forgot the GLOBAL...
bbaoIT ConsultantCommented:
how about the "drag and drop" performance if you transfer files between the host and guest using this way?
yankees9920Author Commented:
Sorry for the delay in response, my setup needed to be moved and should be set back up in the next day or two to resume testing.
yankees9920Author Commented:
I got my computers set back up and are now running through a gigabit switch.
The transfer speeds seem to still be weird.

I started a 5gb transfer and it was running at 25 MB/s for the first 20-30 secs, then it dropped to 12, and ended up falling somewhere between 2-11 MB/s for the rest of the time.
I'm not sure why I'm seeing such disappointing speeds even over gigabit.
bbaoIT ConsultantCommented:
as i mentioned above, if you have VMware Tools installed on the guest OS, try "drag and drop" operation and see how the performance is.
yankees9920Author Commented:
I know its a less functional SBS 2003, but it also has a feature that SBS doesn't have - the backup abilities, which is what I want to use it for.
I had an expanding disk, I have since added a 2nd spindle and created a new VMDK on that as well, so now the data should be somewhat balanced between the 2 spindles. I am still getting consistent speeds under 20MB/s which is disappointing (especially since they are usually closer to 10).
I run it with 750 MB ram allocated, but it only really uses ~512mb and I have seen many people successfully running it with this little amount of ram.
Yes, the host is Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit (basically running idle) with 2GB ram installed.

I tried the TCP offload command and it didn't seem to make much of a difference (it may have helped a bit though).

All of the transfers I have tried was using drag and drop with the program TerraCopy.
yankees9920Author Commented:
I think I may have initially misunderstood you.
I am transferring the filed by going to \\whs\share and copying it (drag & drop) to the desktop of my computer.
I tried opening the VMWare console and dragging  the file to my local desktop, but it does not let me take the cursor out of the window with the file selected (I am not seeing the drag and drop functionality).
Rich RumbleSecurity SamuraiCommented:
Protocols make a big difference with transfers, you might experiment very quickly to find the "fastest" speed you could possibly expect... If your host's are using Gig nic's, you can use normal cat-5 cable between them. Give them IP's, and respectively, subnet masks don't matter too much a normal /24 ( is fine, gateways can be their own IP's or you can skip it and leave the gateway off, you don't need one in this situation. Transfer the data from one host to the other by IP... see how fast the transfer is, if your going from share to share (\\\c$) you probably won't see more than 100mb transfer rate, and that's directly connected. In fact, I think you may see results much the same as you do now, but that's not all bad, it might help you pinpoint the issue. If you see a great increase of speed that could be an indication that there are wiring issues, interference or it's sun spots, yeah definitely sun spots... I've seen it a hundred times...
The fact remains, that even though we are all rolling out gig and getting all PC's with gig cards... the windows OS isn't yet optimized for it, some programs come with their own tuned parameters and do transfer files faster, I can never get IIS (http) to be as fast as my Apache server on windows or Linux. FTP is fast on both... Robocopy on windows smokes file transfers, very fast. So there are a lot of issues at play and gig switch/gig nic's don't a gig network make.
yankees9920Author Commented:
I have done some more reading that has pointed towards slow speeds due to PIO vs DMA. Even transferring a file from 1 folder in \whs\Downloads to \whs\Videos takes ~15 mins for 4-5GB.
Any idea if that can be a cause and/or how I can check/fix it?
btw, what i transfer from one whs share to another does data go over the network, or does it know its a local transfer?
Rich RumbleSecurity SamuraiCommented:
Not positive, but in a typical switch configuration, if both host's are on the same switch and same vlan, the switch will "directly" connect to two at layer3, but if they are on different vlans, they pass through the gateway, then to the destination. I would assume if the transfer is faster, it's doing the same "direct" connection, but I also would not be surprised to see that traffic go out to the gateway... but the switch should be smart enough, even if the software isn't, that there is no need to transfer the data through the other switch ports, and the switch should reflect the traffic back to the nic.So it likely leaves the host for a millisecond out the Tx and comes back in the Rx, which would slow things down a bit as the CPU and nic are processing the same data twice.
yankees9920Author Commented:
The speeds seem to be randomly varied between decent and extremely slow. I guess I'll just deal with it until I try out the new version of WHS and see how that goes. I will also try transfer speeds from another VM (server 2008).
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