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Archive for May, 2014

Solving VMware Fusion 6 and Windows 7 VM performance issues

May 28th, 2014 10 comments

I have been struggling along with various VM performance issues over the last couple of months using VMware Fusion 5.x, as well as the latest 6.0.3. I just didn’t get the time to dedicate to find a fix for the performance degradation I was seeing until just recently.

I have the following specifications on my Macbook Pro Retina which I use for development purposes:

macspec1

I have a Windows 7 Professional VM running in VMware Fusion, with a spec that I had tried all kinds of different configurations on – mainly 2 vCPUs, and 4GB RAM though. This VM is running on the built-in 256GB SSD.

Nothing seemed to fix the performance issues I was seeing, which was that by at least half way though a typical work day of using Visual Studio and a few tabs of Chrome/IE/Firefox, the VM would slow down to an absolute crawl. I knew it was the VM though, as everything in OSX Mavericks, the host OS was perfectly normal. Most of the time just restarting the Windows VM itself would not help though – I would have to reboot the whole macbook.

The other week I decided enough was enough, and spent a bit of time googling and looking around the VMware Communities forums for a fix. Here is the combination of settings that seems to have resolved my issues now.

  • Settled on a VM spec of 3 x vCPUs (helpful for Visual Studio), and 4GB RAM.
  • Disabled app nap for VMware Fusion (Applications -> Right-click, Get Info on VMware Fusion, and tick the box that says “Prevent App Nap”.
  • Added 3 x new entries into my VM’s configuration file (.vmx file). To edit the .vmx file you’ll need to right-click your VM and select “Show Content”. This will allow you to browse the file content of the VM, and you’ll need to locate your VM’s .vmx file. Right-click this file and open it in your text editor of choice. I added the following lines to the bottom of the file:
MemTrimRate = "0"
sched.mem.pshare.enable = "FALSE"
prefvmx.useRecommendedLockedMemSize = "TRUE"

Don’t forget to disable App Nap for Fusion.

prevent-app-nap

Disable app nap for Fusion