Go Slow: VMware Workstation 7 and Win7 SP1 Print E-mail
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Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Thursday, March 3, 2011 12:57pm

Installing SP1 on a Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2 machine that runs VMWare Workstation may cause serious problems with your VMs.  This article contains the documented workaround.

VMware claims this problem is fixed in version 7.1.4, download it at VMware.

Apparently the new Dynamic Memory feature of SP1 is causing some grief with VMware's built-in memory optimization.  Even though the service pack notes sound like the feature only targets 2008 R2 - the Dynamic Memory feature does alter Windows 7's memory management as well.

Problems can occur with just one VM, but manifest more frequently when running multiple VMs.  In many cases a machine will have 6-12 GB of free RAM whent the VMs are running, but experience severe performance problems and blue screens.  More details are available by searching VMware's community site.

The temporary fix provided by VMware support is to disable VMware's built in memory optimization by adding vmmon.disableHostParameters = "TRUE" to "C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware Workstation\config.ini".  A windows cold restart was required by at least some individuals implementing this fix.

The downside to this work around is that the Host OS will hold on to more of it's memory, leaving less available than before SP1.  In most cases is NOT a substantial amount of RAM since this feature is for optimizing memory.  For machines with loads of memory for virtualization, the lost memory is much less impact than the problem and may even be good enough to leave SP1 installed until VMware issues an update.

 

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