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A virtual machine is an incredible tool that can be used for many applications. A virtual machine is a separate operating system that is hosted on your main computer. It’s an emulation of the computer system. It works just like a PC, it can use USB flash drives, printers, scanners, and peripheral devices. You can even create multiple operating systems on the same machine. Virtual machines are also very safe since they are not connected to your main computer, so they are great for testing programs and other applications. The disadvantage of a virtual machine is that is must borrow the resources from your main system for the virtual machine to work. This can cause slow down and reduced performance from your virtual machine which can cause the usability of the virtual machine to be unbearable at times. Here are some tips on how to configure a virtual machine for optimal performance.

Dynamically allocated vs fixed-size disk: When you create a new virtual machine, it will ask how you want to store the virtual machine. VMWare recommends that you choose “Allocate all disk space now” for better performance but this might not be the best option. A dynamically expanding disk keep expanding until it reaches the maximum size you set it at. This allows the disk save useless space. Since the hard disk file is constantly changing is can cause fragmentation which will lower the performance of the system. A fixed disk size doesn’t change since you specify the appropriate disk size. The best option to choose depends on if you know how much storage you’re going to need. Here is how to configure this:

  1. When you create a new virtual machine and start the set-up process choose the disk type you want (If not sure choose “SCSI (Recommended)”, click “Next”
  2. Then it will ask you three options to create either a new virtual disk, use an existing disk, or use a physical disk. Choosing “Create a new virtual disk” is ideal, click “Next”
  3. Now you can choose the size of the disk and choose how you want to store it. Click “Next” when done and continue the set-up process.

Configure memory: Memory is important to a virtual machine and is the main source for speeding up a virtual machine. Memory is what allows programs to run smoothly and luckily this is easily configurable with the virtual machine off. This is how to configure it:

  1. With the virtual machine turned off, click “Edit virtual machine settings” from the left side menu.
  2. In the menu on the right-side, VMWare will suggest the right memory size. Move the slider to add more memory or type in the desired amount of ram, click “Ok” when finished.

Configure CPU: Your CPU handles the processes that is happening on your system. The number of processes will directly reflect on the speed of your virtual machine. This can be configured with the virtual machine off. Here is how to configure this:

  1. With the virtual machine turned off, click “Edit virtual machine settings” from the left side menu
  2. Click “Processors” from the list of hardware
  3. On the right side of the window you will see “Number of processors” and “Number of cores per processor” From here you can add more to both options to speed up your system. After adding more processes and cores, click “Ok”

These tips will surely speed up and improve the performance of your virtual machine.