VMware memory errors

Posted on 2014-10-31
Last Modified: 2014-11-11
My desktop at home is running Windows 8.1 x64 with 16gb and VMware workstation 10.0.3.
I've been having issues with running guests where VMware will suddenly halt the guests and a dialog box appears saying it couldn't allocate memory for the guest.  The guests have been up for a few days and (until now) was working fine.

A link on the dialog box points to a kb article addressing that error stating either more physical memory has to be added (the system supports no more than 16gb) or reduce the number of running applications to free memory.

The amount of memory used is only hitting about 50% as task manager is showing 7.9gb free and the 2 guests that were running are only configured for 1gb or 2gb.  One guest is Windows 2012 and the other CentOS.  Last time this happened (a week or two ago) there was an XP guest running.  I was able to reboot the host last time to resolve it since shutting all other applications down and getting to about 14gb of free ram still wouldn't allow a 1gb guest to start.  I've looked around a bit and found articles related to not being able to start a guest; for me it happens while running.

After upgrading to 8.1 I did completely remove VMware workstation and reinstalled it and has been working fine except for these memory messages.  Not sure if it's a VMware or Windows issue, though leaning more towards Windows - perhaps memory management?.
Question by:Seth Simmons
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LVL 94

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40416298
I am running VMware Workstation 10.0.3 on my Windows 8.1 machine and it is working fine.

Make sure in VMware, Edit, Preferences, Memory that the slider is set less than your total memory for all running machines. Mine is set at 6GB.  Make sure it is not too low. That could be a problem.

I have the middle radio button enabled (allow swapping).
LVL 94

Accepted Solution

John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 40416304
Also, is just out but 10.0.3 works just fine.
LVL 120
ID: 40416337
How heavily loaded is your Host ?

Do you have enough free memory ?
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 40416341
I would advise an update to then follow the below guide in terms of Memory Swapping notes for VMWare for their products.

A screenshot of how I have my VM's setup in Workstation.

VMWare Memory
LVL 94

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40416371
I just installed VMware Workstation V10.0.4 and it looks and feels similar to V10.0.3 which was working perfectly well on my Windows 8.1 machine. I suggest you try the Preferences and memory settings before upgrading.
LVL 35

Author Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 40416846

reserved memory for guests is at 12gb; with the guests that were running it would only have hit about a third of that limit
i see now 10.0.4 was released yesterday so i'll have to try that update
the release notes show it fixes memory issues when running on windows 8/2012 so would be interesting if that was the issue thought it might be a good week if it happens again as that's how long it was since the first time


not heavy load at all.  most of the time chrome and outlook; not much else


the guests are configured for recommended; not over provisioned at all
that article you cited is 10+ years old so not sure how much is accurate or relevant now
LVL 35

Author Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 40416857
tried powering on an xp virtual machine configured for 1gb but it failed saying not enough physical memory and to increase by 1.2gb...task manager shows i have 10.4gb free

we'll see if the update fixes it though it might be a few days since it's been maybe a week since the last time it happened
LVL 35

Author Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 40416865
i just installed 10.0.4 and now the guests do start (didn't require reboot)
if it lasts through the week i will probably accept that as a software issue resolved by the just released update
LVL 35

Author Closing Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 40434228
So far no issues after more than a week.  It's one of those things where you can't exactly reproduce the issue so not entirely certain if the 10.0.4 upgrade resolved it, though the release notes do point to the issue so it's possible.
LVL 94

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40434747
Seth - Thanks for the update and I was happy to help. V10.0.4 is working fine for me at this point also.

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