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Sluggish Windows in VMWare Fusion - Solved

I've had my MacBook for over 2 years. Initially I avoided installing virtualization or even BootCamp to run Windows. I was forcing myself to adapt to OS X, get out of my comfort zone, and learn more about that different environment. The mac was also my Ruby On Rails development machine and I wanted to keep Visual Studio out of it.

After one year, I decided that the hardest phase of the learning process was long gone and I installed VMWare Fusion (version 1.something - don't remember) and Windows XP with Visual Studio. I also bumped up my RAM to 2Gb.

Using Visual Studio inside a VM on a mac was a surprisingly viable alternative. I could have all the mundane applications like web browsers, email clients, IM, Twitter, word processors, etc, be mac applications running in the host and leave a very spartan Windows installation with just the minimum required software.

Enter Fusion v2.0. I honestly don't know at what point things started going downhill. More or less around the same time, maybe 4 or 5 months ago, I applied XP SP3, upgraded Fusion to 2.0, and installed VS2008 SP1. I don't even remember what order I followed anymore. I just know that my Windows VM became almost unusable. I'd click and wait. Visual Studio was so unresponsive that I would prefer to terminal in to my desktop Vista and work like that instead of the VM.

Today I had some time to get back to this problem and do a little googling on it. After a few not so useful hits, I landed on this forum posting that got me back on track.

I still don't know if all my messed up settings were done by yours truly, trying to solve the problem and making it worse, or by the Fusion upgrade. For now I'll assume it was me. Here's what I had to change.

  • Give less memory to the VM. This seems counterintuitive, but I had divided the RAM 50/50 between OS X and the VM. I reduced the VM to around 820MB.
  • Use only one virtual processor. I have a dual core processor but virtualizing only one seems to ensure the host always has at least one entire core to do the housekeeping.
  • Optimize for Mac OS. Mine was optimized for VM. Probably done by myself with the best intentions in the world.
  • No sharing of any applications. I just don't need that. Gone.

Several people on the forums mentioned reinstalling the VMWare Tools. Mine had installed/upgraded fine before so I didn't touch that.

With all these tweaks in place I'm again a happy camper and stopped making plans to buy one of the new MacBook models that support more than 2GB. Performance is back to it's Fusion v1.x days and that's all I was asking for.


Posted 11-22-2008 5:25 PM by sergiopereira
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Comments

Howard wrote re: Sluggish Windows in VMWare Fusion - Solved
on 11-24-2008 1:30 PM

I experienced a noticeable drop in performance with the RC release of Fusion 2.0. Since I don't use Windows apps as much as I used to, I just put up with it. I'm glad you posted this info.

Cuauhtemoc wrote re: Sluggish Windows in VMWare Fusion - Solved
on 01-11-2009 9:35 PM

thanks for the tips! I was running 2.x just fine when I figured I'd improve things by bumping up the RAM and dedicating both processors. To my amazement it brought things to a crawl! I will reconfigure as you have indicated and look forward to a more reasonable Fusion.

sam wrote re: Sluggish Windows in VMWare Fusion - Solved
on 07-25-2009 4:01 PM

Thank you so much for the tip...I was about to throw my MBP out the window it was running so slowly in vmware.....

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