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  • Windows 8.1 VM is super slow

    Posted on MrJimPhelps Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems Linux – all distros Windows 8.1 VM is super slow

    This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  MrJimPhelps 7 months ago.

    • Author
    • #543293 Reply


      I run Linux Mint 19.1 Xfce 64-bit, and use VMWare Workstation 15 Player. I have a 2 GB swap file on my primary Linux hard drive. I have Windows 8.1 32-bit installed in the VM. My computer has 12 GB of RAM, and I have allocated two processors and 6 GB of RAM to the VM, yet it is very slow. Does anyone have any ideas what I might do to speed things up?

      Prior to this time, I was running Linux Mint 18.2 (?) Xfce 64-bit with an older version of VMWare. I had allocated 4 GB of RAM with two processors to the VM, and WIndows 8.1 ran well in the VM.

      Why did it run well in the old scenario, but it runs terrible in the new scenario? What changed?
      * Was there a Windows update that slowed down my Windows 8.1 VM?
      * Did VMWare make a change that slowed things down?
      * Was there a change in Mint?

      My best guess is that a Windows update was the culprit. I recently installed all Windows updates when Woody had set MS-Defcon to level 4.

      However, perhaps something changed either in VMWare or in Mint. It seems that VMWare would have been up on any changes in Mint and would have adjusted their software accordingly.

      Any guesses?

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #544940 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Did you update Mint, VMWare, and Win 8.1 all at the same time?

      Or can you identify when the trouble first occurred along the timeline that you performed those updates?

      If it was my machine, I would start by rolling back the latest changes first, one at a time, until things went back to normal.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #547321 Reply


        I did a clean install of Mint 19.1 on an empty hard drive. I then installed the latest VMWare on that. I then opened my existing Windows 8.1 virtual machine in VMWare.

        Everything ran fine all along the way till I opened my Windows 8.1 VM. It is the only slow thing that is running. If I don’t open the VM, everything is fine. So I’m not sure how to back out of this one. I suppose I could do a fresh install of Windows in a new VM. But I haven’t yet tried that.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        • #547601 Reply

          Da Boss

          Did you create the VM on that machine earlier, before the reinstall?

          I am not familiar with VMWare, but I do many VMs of different versions of Windows on Macs. If the VM was not created on that machine, perhaps reviewing the drivers for the hardware (it is now using by proxy) would help. In my case, I would have to reinstall the Parallels (VM software) Tools to be sure I had the right “go-between” drivers supplied by the host software.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #548610 Reply

          AskWoody Plus

          I would try re-installing the version of VMWare that was running previously, and presumably the version that you built the VM with.

          If that doesn’t work, it may have something to do with the way the new Linux Mint has recognized the existing hardware., and that is somehow affecting the way VMWare abstracts the hardware. Maybe a driver is missing or an incorrect version was installed.

          Perhaps you could export the VM from VMWare on the old Linux Mint system, and then import it into the VMWare on the new Linux Mint system.

          VMWare import an OVF

          VMWare export a VM to OVF format

          Alternatively, you could try installing VirtualBox, and importing the VM.

          Importing an existing VM into VirtualBox

          I’m really just guessing here, as I use VirtualBox now, so have no current knowledge of any potential VMWare issues. I have used VMWare before, so I do have a basic idea of how it works.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #583998 Reply


      Thanks for your comments, JohnW.

      As a further detail, it appears that whenever I click on something, the thing that I clicked on happens, and it then tries to do something in the background. I can’t click on anything for another 30 seconds (approx), after which time I can click on something else, and the cycle repeats. The mouse disappears entirely from the VM session during the 30 seconds. In fact, the only thing which seems to help is if I hit CTRL+G or CTRL+ALT a couple of times (this switches the mouse between the VM and the host).

      I have no idea what might be happening in the background, but it looks like that is what is going on. Finally after about 30 seconds, whatever was preventing me from being able to click on something has timed out, and I can now click on something else.

      Trying the old version of VMWare sounds like a good plan. I prefer to do that rather than to go back to the old version of Mint. Another appealing plan is to try VirtualBox – I have been wanting to try it for a while. But VMWare has worked so well up to this point that I have hesitated to switch to VirtualBox.

      I think I’ll try the previous version of VMWare as my first step. I’ll post an update here when I have tried it.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      • #585751 Reply

        AskWoody Plus

        That sounds like a plan Jim.

        With VMs I rarely update the software (hypervisor), unless I have to, in order to fix something that broke with an OS update.  Or if there is a security fix or feature that I need.

        Otherwise I stick with “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. 🙂

        The good thing about VMs is that you can export them as “appliances”, so they are rather portable.

        I think you may find VirtualBox is quite flexible after you dig into it. You get the full version for free. And the VirtualBox forum community is helpful, as long as you play by the posting rules, read the stickies, and cause no drama.

    • #852472 Reply


      I found the answer – I did a clean install of Mint 18.2 64-bit Xfce. Once I did that, I installed VMWare Workstation Player ver. 15. Now when I run my Windows 8.1 VM, it runs like a champ – very fast. I have allocated 4 GB of RAM and 2 CPUs to the VM.

      Previously I had been running VMWare ver. 14. It worked just as well as ver. 15.

      However, when I am running Mint 19.1 64-bit Xfce, the Windows 8.1 VM is very slow, whether I am running VMWare 14 or 15. Even if I allocate 6 GB of RAM to the VM.

      Mint changed something between 18.2 and 19.1 which interacts badly with VMWare. So if you are planning on running a Windows 8.1 VM using VMWare Workstation Player, go with Mint 18.2, not 19.1. (I didn’t test any versions of Mint between those two; but my guess is that the problem occurs when you go from 18.x to 19.x.)

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM

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