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vmware player memory leak on windows 7

I have a fresh-out-of-the-box workstation class system with dual quad-core i7 and 20gigs of memory.

I've seen this issue on vmware player 4.0.2 and 5.0.1.

I take a fresh copy of a VM that I have been running with no problems on other machines, and start it up on this system.  The first time I start it, I have 20 minutes before the computer wedges after running out of memory.  Task manager shows all memory is used, but the process display doesn't show any process that is using much memory.  The vm is limited to 8gig, but appears to use less than three.  If I shut down vmware player before the machine wedges, only about half of the memory is released.

If I shut the vm down, and reboot the base machine, it comes back fine, and grows until it is using 10.0gigs, then seems to be stable... the base system seems to use 1.85gig, and the vm seems to use just under 3 gigs.  But 10.0gig is ok, this is the only application that I need running, and so I'm happy.  When I shut the vm down, about 8 gigs of memory is released.  so it seems ok now...

If I leave the vm running overnight, the machine is out of memory again.  I kill the vm, and stop vmware, and only 5 gigs are released, but process manager shows nothing is using much memory, nothing over 250meg... even though 15 gigs is being used.

This vm is the clone of a vm running under esxi, that has many months of uptime, and no memory leak.

The base os of the machine is windows 7, and the os of the VM is windows server 2008 running sql and mediaroom personal server.
Avatar of Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)
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does it just occur on this Host?
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I built 4 identical hosts, but I shipped them all to other sites before I noticed the problem on one of them.  I suspect the problem exists on all hosts, but I can't be sure until I get one of them shipped back.  I'll have that answer in a couple days.  But it is a good question!
We haved used VMware Player, 3,4 and 5 VMware Workstation all versions up to and including 9.0, on Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and we have never seen any memory leak issued.

thats not to say its not possible

Have you trialed VMware Workstation with the same VM eg 8 or 9
I'll be trying a lot of things it seems.  I'm going through one fix at a time.

Someone is shipping me back one of the other systems I built, so I can do some side-by-side comparisons to see if it occurs elsewhere.
The systems are all the same model number, but have slightly different system builds, so what is different may include various drivers for video and other peripherals, as well as different processors.

I tried VMware player 4.0.1 and 5.0.2, with similar results.  I also noticed that the affected system didn't have any updates, it was running as installed.  So I applied updates, with no improvement.

So I'll do my side-by-side and see what I see.  I will also try reinstalling from scratch, as well as profiling each system with Sandra to see if Sandra notices any difference in the systems.

So I'll post more when I have it.
Ok, I have confirmed that it is happening on other machines I have built on the same hardware.

The application running in the virtual machine is a Microsoft Mediaroom Personal Server system, and it has several multicast video streams running.

The same VM running on ESXi can run 6 months at a time with no problems.  The VM running under VMware player can run about 8 hours or so, depending on how much memory the host machine has.

Another data point is that if I turn the media streaming off, essentially shutting down most of the network traffic, the memory leak appears to slow down or even stop.  It is a guess based on observation that the memory leak is related to network traffic.

The network traffic is modest on the fully running server, about 50 megabits of mostly multicast, with a small amount of unicast.
It is an Intel 82579LM gigabit adapter, in a Dell Precision portable workstation with 32gigs of memory and quad core i7 processor...
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No actual solution was found.  Work-arounds involve using more expensive versions of VMware, or use multiple machines for the application.