VMWare performance with USB drives

As a SharePoint developer a wise choice is to run your Virtual Machines on a separate drive (separate from your OS drive). That way you gain some performance as two different operating systems are not contending for precious read/write times on the disk and, after all, the disk is the biggest bottleneck.

If you're using VMWare with an external USB drive and are plagued by the dreaded 5+ minute black screen as your guest OS shuts down, then here's a potential fix.

  1. Locate the config.ini file for VMWare. On Windows 7 you should find it under C:\ProgramData\VMWare\VMWare Workstation
  2. Edit the file and add the following lines to it:
    1. prefvmx.minVmMemPct = "100"
    2. mainMem.useNamedFile = "FALSE"
    3. mainMem.partialLazySave = "FALSE"
    4. mainMem.partialLazyRestore = "FALSE"
  3. Save the file and restart your VM
  4. Shut down and the home screen should come up in a matter of seconds instead of minutes

So what are these settings for? minVmMemPct = "100" tells VMWare to fit the memory in the VM into your system RAM (using 100 as 100%). Try to avoid anything other than 100% or else you'll have a lot of file swapping going on here. The useNamedFile property is intended to be set to FALSE for USB-disks or other slow disks. partialLazySave and partialLazyRestore are just that, taking and restoring snapshots in the background or not.

Hope that helps.

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