Monday, January 3, 2011

VMware Workstation 7.1 Freeze: Ubuntu Host, WinXP Guest

I was running a Windows XP virtual machine (VM) in VMware Workstation 7.1 on an Ubuntu 10.10 host.  I noticed a problem that I had not experienced in VMware or WinXP previously.  I would be working along, typing a document in Word 2003 or looking at a PDF in Adobe Acrobat, and suddenly the VM would freeze.  It was not a problem with XP or with these application programs:  the mouse was not responsive, and Ctrl-Alt would fail to bring up Workstation's menu bar at the top of the screen.  This state of affairs would continue for at least a couple of minutes.  On some occasions, I gave up and rebooted the VM, though possibly it would have come back around if I had been willing to wait longer.

I ran a search to find a solution.  A post in the first thread I looked at suggested going into VM > Settings > Options tab > Advanced and checking the "Disable memory page trimming" option.  I tried that.  It seemed to reduce both the frequency and the duration of the freezes.  At this point, instead of minutes going by, it was just a few seconds before the system would be responsive again.  So that looked like the cure.

After a few days, unfortunately, the previous behavior returned.  I went back and verified that memory page trimming was still disabled.  The VMware menu bar was active.  It appeared that the slowdown, in this case, might be due to a different hard drive issue. I did not pursue this issue.  This and an accumulation of other problems instead led me to conclude, a few weeks later, that I would not continue to use WinXP in VMware on Ubuntu, but would instead go back to an almost entirely Windows-based setup (though I might retain an Ubuntu dual-boot capability).



I'm having a similar experience. I'm running Win 7 in a guest window in VmWare Workstation. In a previous version of Workstation, I used to be able to do all my Word processing and email, etc. But now, when I run Win 7 under Workstation, not only does the guest freeze, but the Host does too. If I act quickly enough, I can get the host to restart w/o me having to hit the computer's reset button. I'm thinking of giving up on using a VM for Word, etc. type work.