Why are my VM's thrashing my hard drive? UPDATE: Found a solution

Discussion in 'Software for Windows' started by Ketchup, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Ketchup

    Ketchup Elite Member

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    Preface: I have a Lenovo T510 laptop running windows 7, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive. I have two Windows XP virtual machines on it, one for my use, one for logging into a customer's VPN, but on their own partitions. The laptop is running Forefront Client security and the virtuals are running MSE.

    Issue: Sometimes, for a not-yet discovered reason, clicking a program on my virtual machine will cause the physical hard drive to be accessed like crazy for up to a minute. The virtual machine pretty much freezes during this period. When I pull up task manager in windows 7, there is still some physical memory labeled as "free" and I keep the hard drive(s) pretty well defragmented with Auslogics. I have Windows 7 and the virtuals set to a basic color scheme and disabled as many unneeded processes as possible on the VMs, but the issue persists. I upgraded both VMs from 512 MB of usable memory to 768, but that didn't seem to help much.

    Later this year I will be getting a new Lenovo with 8 GB of RAM, so that could very well resolve the issue. Just wondering if you guys knew of something else I could try for the time being.
     
    #1 Ketchup, Feb 20, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
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  3. MrChad

    MrChad Lifer

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  4. Ketchup

    Ketchup Elite Member

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    Thanks MrChad. I made both changes, so we'll see how it goes today.
     
  5. xSauronx

    xSauronx Lifer

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    it may be on different partitions, but its still the same physical drive, and youre running 3 OS's on it. thats tough to keep up with. i have an i7 laptop with 8gb ram running windows 7, and running a vm in that takes a noticeable toll if im doing something write/read intensive in the VM. not much of a way around it other than to run VMs on another hard drive.

    not sure if an external drive would work, if it was usb 3 it might be tolerable? i have a usb 3 drive, i should probably try it sometime. at home, my OS is on an ssd and i have a striped raid array for data/VMs to keep the system from freaking out when i need to run one.
     
  6. Ketchup

    Ketchup Elite Member

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    Thanks xSauronx, I have no doubt an SSD would help. It's not really a problem, just an annoyance. Mainly it is just because I like the idea of keeping work and personal items separate, since the laptop is with me 24/7 when I am on call. I am pretty sure the USB 3 option would help, since, as you said, I would be dealing with separate physical drives. I had an old dell that had 2 hard drive caddies. It is a shame that Lenovo does not do this, even on their ThinkPad models. Thanks for the input.
     
  7. KentState

    KentState Diamond Member

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    Even with Windows XP, you are probably allocating at least 256MB each. I'm sure Win7 is taking 2GB so you may just have a lack of memory.
     
  8. BrightCandle

    BrightCandle Diamond Member

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    You have 4GB of RAM and two VMs, it could be you are exceeding the available RAM on your machine and its thrashing on virtual memory on your hard drive.
     
  9. Ketchup

    Ketchup Elite Member

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    This is what I think is happening. Device manager seems to imply that it's not doing this, (shows memory as available, and even a little as free) but it runs fine with 1 VM going. The second one is what gets pretty down.

    Thanks for the input guys.

    Oh, and thanks for the input MrChad. I used the recommendations listed, but they didn't seem to help much. But, they were sound suggestions that I had not thought of.
     
  10. Ketchup

    Ketchup Elite Member

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    Update: I think I have the VM issue fixed for now.

    In addition to adding the exclusion in MrChad's link, I have removed the antivirus from my VMs, and returned them to 512 MB of RAM each.

    The one VM only accesses through a VPN connection (which is set up to only access files for that customer), and the other is easy just to nuke and start over if I need to. I have shared folders disabled on both.

    Thanks for the input guys. I appreciate it. Have a great weekend.
     
  11. Chapbass

    Chapbass Platinum Member

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    I didn't notice what software you were using for your VMs, but if you're running something besides vmware player, might be a good idea to clone that 2nd vm periodically, so if it gets hosed you can just fire up the clone instead of starting from square one.
     
  12. Ketchup

    Ketchup Elite Member

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    Using VMware. I have a clone of the first one. The second is maybe a 20 minute windows install, and not necessarily needed, just something a like having to separate business from pleasure.
     
  13. holden j caufield

    holden j caufield Diamond Member

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    for vms I 4gb might be a little low.
     
  14. Chapbass

    Chapbass Platinum Member

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    Well, I was more asking about what edition of vmware (player vs workstation), but no worries :p.
     
  15. Ketchup

    Ketchup Elite Member

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    Gotcha, just player.
     
  16. Ketchup

    Ketchup Elite Member

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    Yeah, it is. But I am not dumping RAM into something I don't own (it's a lease) and I already have the specs for the next one, it will be 8 GB.