I am running VMWare Fusion 3 on a MacBook 2.4 with 4MB RAM. I would love to get some more speed out of this VM, are there some settings or particular configurations that will help me get the most out of this program? I am hoping to run Visual Studio 2008 on it.


Allocate 2 CPUs and at least 2GB RAM to the VM. Make sure Windows has an adequate page file; I recommend 2GB minimum.

If you can, set your MacBook to boot using the 64-bit kernel and extensions. By default, most current Macs still boot with the 32-bit kernel. Google finds much info about this, including this page: http://newchaos.posterous.com/64-bit-on-snow-leopard-macos-x-106x

Combined with romant's prior advice, I saw a noticeable improvement, especially in terms of reduced typing lag in Visual Studio 2008. We'll see if this better performance continues tomorrow at work...

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  • Performance remains great at work today. I'm running two copies of Visual Studio 2008, plus IIS 7.5, plus SQL 2008, and it is usable. Further testing suggests that the biggest boost came from disabling Windows Aero. I was experiencing a ~250ms lag typing in Visual Studio; after these tweaks it is instant. – user18693 Nov 20 '09 at 16:31

Only view in Single Window - not Unity.

Remove all themes, and pick 'Adjust for Best Performance' within Windows (right click on My Computer and hit properties)

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  • I did custom so I could turn on smoothing of fonts. But themes was my main resource hog. – Justin Rudd Jan 7 '10 at 6:23

If you don’t need it, disable Windows Index search and Restore points. Hard drive is probably the worst slowdown. Try to tweak your windows as if it were a real box you have with limited hardware. Removing unnecessary services also helps a lot and keeps windows more quiet.

There are various guides around the net (google is your friend) on what services you can “safely” disable to get a performance boost.

Also search on Stack Overflow for a few Visual Studio tweaks (there are a few interesting threads about it there); it all helps a lot. If you have an external FW800 or faster drive, moving the VM there also helps balancing the load between the two slowest pieces of hardware. Unless, of course, you have a SSD :)

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  • Wow, great answer. I hadn't thought about moving the VM to a faster drive. It's about 20 GB right now. I am running a black MacBook, what if I ut the VM on and external SSD via USB 2? Will Fusion do this? – mmcglynn Dec 18 '09 at 12:04

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