FIX: Poor VM Performance & Errors with VMware Workstation 7.1.3 after applying Microsoft Windows 7 SP1

This is an issue which will likely have been affecting those of you, like myself, who upgraded their Windows 7 PC to Service Pack 1 and also run VMs under VMware Workstation 7.1.3 from the same PC.  The introduction of the ‘Dynamic Memory’ (a new memory management ‘enhancement’ which allow for higher VM densities within Hyper-V – see here and here for more details ) feature in the recent Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) release appears to have affected how Windows  (Win7 and W2K8 R2) handles it’s memory.  After installing this service pack on your VMware Workstation host PC you may likely experience memory allocation issues and poor performance when trying to run your VMs. Symptoms observed so far range from very slow performance of the VMs (W2K3, W2K8, Win 7 mix) through to the occasional BSOD, also a common error you may receive mentions failed memory allocation. 

This memory issue, which definitely appears to have been introduced with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 Service Pack 1, is clearly affecting the wider VMware Workstation Community, as can be seen in this VMware forum thread here.  There isn’t an official patch fix at the time of writing this post though there is a setting which can be applied to your VMware Workstation install which from my testing so far seems to alleviate the issue.  If you are also affected with this memory problem then you may also want to consider adding the following parameter:

Edit the ‘config.ini’ file which can be found here: C:ProgramDataVMwareVMware  Workstationconfig.ini

Win7 SP1 and VMware Workstation Memory Config

Add the following line to the config file:  vmmon.disableHostParameters = "TRUE"

VMware Workstation 7.1 and Windows 7 Service Pack 1

After adding this line to the ‘config.ini’ then reboot your host PC for this setting to take affect.  You can’t beat a good ole reboot after changing settings such as this.  Smile

As mentioned this is not really a permanent fix (at least I hope it’s not) and I’m guessing we can expect to see a VMware Workstation patch which addresses this issue released sometime soon.