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We're a software development shop, and we're experimenting with VMWare Server 2 on Windows XP Professional/32 (corporate standard, can't get away from it) with Windows 2008 x64 as guest for 64-bit testing. We're using VS2008. This is obviously on 64-bit hardware. The host has 4GB RAM.

When we allocate 2GB to the VM, it runs fairly acceptably. However, when we allocate 3GB, a build which at best timing on 2GB took 6 minutes, takes up to 20 (twenty) minutes and the physical disk is thrashing.

System properties says 3.5xGB RAM, "Physical Address Extensions". boot.ini does not have the /3GB switch.

Anyone have pointers on how to increase the performance? Add /3GB? Any configuration of VMWare I'm overlooking (disk policy already set for "Performance", XP configured to "Optimize for background services")? Statically assigning all disk space vs. dynamically growing made little to no difference.

Somewhat related issue - if the guest is left idle for some time, the build takes 15-20 minutes as well; is there a way to prevent this idling? Is the guest being swapped out of RAM?


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Windows XP 32 cannot use more then 3.2GB of RAM.

If you were able to allocate 3GB to a VM then you are going to use pretty much all the memory available to your host. All of Windows, and your Vmware product would have to live on ~200MB.

Anyway, you need more RAM and you need a 64 bit OS.

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You should check the amount of memory that has left for the hosting OS. Giving 3 GB to the VM means that the host has only 1GB for itself.

What i suggest is to have a look at the memory that has left for the machine.

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I've clean installed XP (the host); it idles at around 200MB of RAM in use, so there should be 800MB free but I will get a specific number. – Michal Rysanek Aug 2 '10 at 22:39

This doesn't directly answer your question but have you considered running a bare metal hypervisor like VMware vSphere?

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We have. A bare-metal hypervisor requires pretty much dedicated hardware; what we're trying to accomplish with this proof-of-concept is use the standard corporate build of XP/32 yet provide a 64-bit dev environment. I'm trying to stay away from having to support a custom workstation build for my devs and use the corp standard. – Michal Rysanek Aug 3 '10 at 16:35

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