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I have VMWare Workstation 8 installed on a host machine with the following specs:

  • Intel i5 2500k CPU
  • 16GB DDR3 1600 ram
  • 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black HD

I have two Windows 7 virtual machines configured (currently running one at a time but will be operating both at once when my 32GB RAM kit arrives in a couple days). Each one is configured with 8GB of RAM and no tweaks/performance customizations or anything done. All of the VMWare settings are the defaults.

When I boot into these machines and run various programs (Visual Studio, Outlook, etc), I can hear the disk thrashing quite a bit and checking Resource Monitor, I can see that I'm getting anywhere between 300-800 hard faults per second. From the host machine, it shows they're coming from the VMWare image. If I go to the virtual machine, whatever app I'm currently loading is the image that's causing the hard faults.

As I understand it, hard faults are (simply) when an address in memory has been swapped out to the page file and has to be read from the page file instead of from memory. I don't understand why this is happening though. With 8GB of ram on the guest machine and 6.5GB available, what could be causing this? I know Windows 7 supposedly improved on page file management over XP but it seems excessive for this kind of slowdown, disk thrashing and high hard fault count when I have that much free RAM.

Is there anything I can to to improve the performance in my guest machines? On the host machine, I can open/run any applications at all and hard faults stays around 0 with low disk I/O.

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migrated from serverfault.com Oct 16 '12 at 16:32

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1 Answer 1

Turns out it was because I had my VMs on the same physical disk as my host OS. Moving them to a separate physical disk solved the problem.

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