I have a couple of workstations (Windows Vista, 7) used to host virtual machines using Virtual Server 2005, Virtual PC 2007, or Virtual PC for Windows 7. If i want to sleep or hibernate the physical hosts, I tend to get paranoid and save the states of the virtual machines before doing so.

What I would like to know is there any adverse effects if I choose not to care and just immediately sleep the host?

3 Answers 3


I use XP Pro workstations and VMWare, and I suspend/hibernate the workstation regularly with no special attention paid to the VMs. The only adverse effect I've ever seen has been the workstations time getting further screwed up (For application reasons, I can't have them sync their time to anything).

  • Ditto. I've been doing this for years and I've never had any issues. Jul 21, 2009 at 4:30
  • Me too. The time thing is a bit of a pain - VMware tools should sort it out - but the event doesn't always fire. You also might notice longer hibernate/resume times if your disks aren't fast... Jul 21, 2009 at 19:26
  • Seemed fine after a night's period spent in Sleep. the only warning i see so far from W32Time complaining of time skip. I'll accept this for now, until i can observe what if sleeping during a VM's heavy/intensive activity with disk or network.
    – icelava
    Jul 22, 2009 at 0:35

When I put my host PC to sleep with VMs active in VirtualBox, they're automatically paused before the host system goes to sleep. As a result, the guests recover from a sleep/wake cycle exactly as they do from being paused. (Occasionally I have trouble with the clock not updating, but this is likely an issue with the VirtualBox guest additions.)

A bit of experimentation will probably show if your VM software does the same.

  • Don't use VirtualBox so i'll have to test them out.
    – icelava
    Jul 21, 2009 at 3:24
  • Would be handy to know whether this is true. I've just rebuilt my dev PC with a new motherboard & CPU so I've left sleep on this time. Before, I disabled it because I found that general stability after wake up wasn't ideal. I'll give it another go. I have a backup DC running on my PC in a VM in case my main dev server goes bye bye. Wonder if there are events written to the guest VM when it's paused? Nov 28, 2016 at 12:45

The standard answer in IT, it depends, applies here. Cursory searching shows people who had no problems, as well as people who had their guest VMs hang. My best bet is to try it and see; rollback is your friend here.

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