How to Optimize Your Virtual Machine


VMware is a great application if you want to run a different operating system on your computer without having to go into installing it on a separate partition, setting up dual-boot options and all the attendant problems that may ensue.

It can also be useful if you wish to run a program that was designed for previous Microsoft systems such as Windows 98 or Windows Millennium Edition.

Alternative operating systems such as Linux Distros may also be tested independently without having to change your current O / S.

It is however important to realize that for this to work efficiently, your computer needs to be optimized to cope with, in effect, running two operating systems simultaneously. So it may not be a good idea to try VMware on an old PC.

The minimum requirements should be as follows:

  • Standard x86-compatible personal computer
  • 400 MHz or faster CPU minimum (500 MHz recommended)
  • 128 MB minimum (256 MB recommended)
  • 8-bit or 32-bit display adapter recommended
  • At least 1GB free disk space recommended for each guest operating system

If you use a default setup, the actual disk space needs are approximately the same as those for installing and running the guest O / S and applications on a physical computer.

Remember, if your PC struggles with one O / S, it will not take well to running two!

Take a look at your BIOS settings and disable anything that is not necessary.

How many of us have got floppy disk controllers enabled when we do not even have a floppy disk ?!

Next, disable any unnecessary hardware in your guest O / S.

If you do not need it-disable it.

Once the hardware requirements have been trimmed down, it's time to look at the software settings.

This means that any 'jazzy' special effects, (animated cursors etc), gadgets in Vista and Windows 7, screen-savers and the like should be turned off.

Under 'Advanced System Settings' in Windows 7 for instance, tick the box 'Adjust for best performance.'

Do not forget that your 'guest' O / S will be sharing your 'host' PC's memory. If for example you have 2GB of memory installed, do not allocate 1. 5GB of memory to your 'guest' operating system, your 'host' operating system needs memory to work too!

It's advisable to run your 'guest' O / S in full screen mode too, taking note of any screen resolution settings in the VMware settings screen. This reduces the amount of work your host operating system has to do.

Install VMware Tools.

This enables you to use several features when using your virtual machine, such as synchronizing your screen resolutions between guest and host, and allowing you to switch between operating systems with your mouse more easily.

Bear in mind also that virtual operating system files (.vdi or .vmdk) are quite large and will consume quite a bit of your hard drive space. If you do not need it, delete it!

Following this guidance will help you to achieve a more satisfying VM experience!


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