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I run several virtual machines with XP as the guest OS which seem to use about 1.7 GB per VM. I want to add a new VM with Windows 7 as the guest and am wondering how much RAM I need to assign to the Windows 7 VM to have it run well. I generally have only one Internet Explorer window in the VMs.

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How much RAM do I need to run Windows 7 usably [sic] in a VMWare virtual machine? The same as you’d need to run it on actual hardare; a VM doesn’t make it require any less memory. I currently seem to use about 1.7GB per virtual machine with Windows XP installed on them So are you running XP or 7 guests? You need to clarify (yes, even if you resolved the issue a couple of years ago). If you mean 7 is the host, then you need as much as possible, depending on how many guests you run. generally running one IE window in the VM That means nothing; IE can use very little or very much. – Synetech Nov 15 '13 at 18:19
@Synetech: at the time I asked the question, I was already running several XP guests, and I was looking to run a Windows 7 guest too. – Paul D. Waite Nov 15 '13 at 22:51
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I have run it usably with 1Gb but would recommend closer to 2 Gb. Running with 1Gb it sometimes starts to slow up. It all depends on what you're doing with the system.

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Note that 2GB is the minimum requirement for a 64-bit guest. – user55325 Nov 15 '13 at 23:32
@user55325: although MS stated that in their website, you can reliably install windows 7 64-bit in a system with only 768MB RAM. Of course it would rather slow but clearly 2GB is not the minimum requirement. There are even attempts to successfully install windows Vista or 7 64-bit on a computer with only 256MB of RAM – Lưu Vĩnh Phúc Nov 16 '13 at 0:47
@Lưu Vĩnh Phúc I assumed that since the official requirements claim that 2GB is required, that the installer would refuse to run with less. Interesting that this isn't the case... – user55325 Nov 16 '13 at 4:02
@user55325: no, it won't refuse to install on systems with likely 512MB RAM or more. I don't know the real limit since I haven't tried but the limit in the installer is much less than the stated requirement – Lưu Vĩnh Phúc Nov 16 '13 at 4:13

I have tried and run multiple operating systems using VMWARE. I would recommend 2GB Ram as any less, seems to make a bit of a difference to the running performance of the system.

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Sorry — is that 2 GB RAM allocated to each VMWare virtual machine, or 2 GB RAM needed on your physical machine? I’d never get away with the latter, as I run three VMs at once, plus lots of other apps (I’m currently using just over 6 GB of RAM as I type this). – Paul D. Waite Oct 26 '10 at 12:19

I'm recently configured win7 on Parallels desktop for internet surfing & MS office 2007 usage. I was able to allocate more than 1,5 Gb for vm after installing 3 Gb. I don't think that win7 is usable without at least 1,5Gb of RAM allocated to it ) Probably in case of VMWare you'll get same numbers.

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I am running Win7 32 under Virtualbox on a newer iMac and I give it 1 full gig. It could probably use more, but unless you are chewing through video, no point. – Braden Oct 26 '10 at 19:41
win7 uses more than 1 gig just after startup ) After few hours of webserfing almost every browser eats 200-300Mb. Also I forget about security software: 150-200 mb. – stim Oct 26 '10 at 21:51

Depends on the host system.

On a Macbook Pro (Mac OSX 10.6.4) with 4GB RAM, I ended up allocating 1.2 GB of RAM, which was the sweet spot. Anything more it swapped, anything less it took a long time to boot.

On a Windows XP with 2 GB RAM, allocating 1 GB exactly gave good results.

This is, of course, minimal footprint. If you need to run memory intensive applications (Photoshop etc) on your Windows 7, you will increase the amount to at least 2 GB.

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I see,I have tested windows 7 with 512, but it depends on how you would want to use windows 7, I would say 1GiG.

Hope this helps.

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While it is possible to run Windows XP/Vista/7 with 512 MB of RAM, I know it's not going to be even close to decent performance. Boot up time will be horrible. The host system really should have at least 4 GB of RAM, and at least 768 - 1 GB dedicated to each virtual system. – Benjamin Schollnick Oct 27 '10 at 17:34

I give it 3GB because I use Visual Studio.

I would say you only need 1G if you do web surfing or office writing only.

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