Long time VMware workstation/player user. Had a laptop running a few different VMs, everything running super smoothly until about a year ago. Then started to notice a slowdown. Can't be sure of correlation - update Windows on guest, update to Win 11 on host - not sure. Problem made VM unusable as problem got 10x worse when on battery power. Basically, anything I tried to run would peg out the VM CPU and take forever to launch, then interface would be slow and stutter. Tried every setting related to power I could find, every setting overall. Tried re-installing windows clean on the host. Spent 40+ hours on it, couldn't get it figured out, decided to just install my software on host machine and be done with VMs for a while. The VM was basically my recovery plan - I run software that takes forever to install, and is very finicky with licensing, so my recovery plan was in the event of a computer loss/crash just carry an SSD with my VM on it for backup. Anyway, with that plan out the window, was running software on host, and sure enough, computer crashed.
So I bought a brand new laptop, i7 processor, 32Gb Ram, 1TB SSD. Installed player 17 on it, tried running my old VM. Same issue - unusably slow. So decided must be the VM itself. Created a brand new from scratch, Windows 11 VM.......and same issue! The brand new machine, assigned with 16Gb of ram, 16 processors (though for some reason task manager only shows 4),.....try to launch anything, and CPU pegs out on the VM, takes forever. Attached is a screenshot of just opening the Windows Store - 60 seconds of 100% CPU usage before it stabilizes. When idle, will sit at around 30% CPU, with some spikes. Meanwhile the host CPU is unphased - humming at around 20% CPU usage. What the heck is going on? How can a brand new machine, brand new install of VMware, brand new VM, and having all these issues? And they are the same as on an old laptop?
I tried disabling side channel mitigation in the VMX file BTW, even though I wasn't getting the warning.
What's your host OS and what's the exact CPU model in your PC.
If it's a 12th generation Alter Lake Intel Core CPU and you're running Windows 11 as the host, try looking at the power plan for the host OS. If it's "Balanced", try setting to "Performance". There have been reports that this may improve the situation, as the theory is that Windows scheduler may be forcing the Workstation virtual CPU "cores" (which translate to operating system "threads") to run on the Alder Lake efficiency cores when a "balanced" power plan is selected. If so, that would throw performance into the toilet.
So indeed it is a 12gen processor. I only had balanced option, so I created a new power plan and set minimum CPU to 100%.
This appears like it may have helped. Hours of windows updates, and I am now ready to try installing my heavy software and see how it handles it. It takes 1 hour for that install, so I will let it run overnight, and test it in the morning. But at least I can do basic tasks, and while the CPU still spikes to 100%, it quickly comes back down - the machine seems usable for now.
Below are my system details, not sure how readable it is.
The weird thing, is I attacked the power thing in depth on my old system (i7, 8th gen), including bios settings and power settings inside the VM, and that never seemed to do anything. And I haven't tried that old VM again either - another test for tomorrow. Unfortunately I only have so much time. I need to get my work done too - VMs are supposed to be the tool, not the thing I actually spend my time working on!
Thank you for the help!
I am having the same issue. Brand new Lenovo p16, Workstation 17 Pro, 64GB of RAM, Core i9-12900HX running Windows 11 Pro. I copied a VM from my old laptop - a W541 with 32GB of RAM and i7-4910MQ processors, running Workstation 11 Pro on Windows 8.1 - and it performs about half as well on the new computer as on the old computer. It is mind-boggling.
The two VMs have identical processor / ram settings, and a simple build of a Java application takes 50% longer on my p16 with 17 Pro than on my W541 with 11 Pro.
I have disabled Hyper-V and memory protection and my power setting is "Best Performance."
So it is, as you can imagine, extremely disappointing to buy a brand new high-powered laptop and get inferior performance to a much older, under-powered computer on an EOL'd OS.
There is very clearly something going on between VMWare and the Intel cores that is hamstringing performance. I hope VMWare can get this fixed quickly, as it at this point makes more sense for me to do my work on my old laptop.
The VM in question is Ubuntu 20.04.
UPDATE: I manually disabled the E cores by adding this to my VMX file:
Processor1.use = "TRUE"
Processor2.use = "TRUE"
Processor3.use = "TRUE"
Processor0.use = "TRUE"
Processor4.use = "TRUE"
Processor5.use = "TRUE"
Processor6.use = "TRUE"
Processor7.use = "TRUE"
Processor8.use = "TRUE"
Processor9.use = "TRUE"
Processor10.use = "TRUE"
Processor11.use = "TRUE"
Processor12.use = "TRUE"
Processor13.use = "TRUE"
Processor14.use = "TRUE"
Processor15.use = "TRUE"
Processor16.use = "FALSE"
Processor17.use = "FALSE"
Processor18.use = "FALSE"
Processor19.use = "FALSE"
Processor20.use = "FALSE"
Processor21.use = "FALSE"
Processor22.use = "FALSE"
Processor23.use = "FALSE"
That bypasses the E cores which are the root source of the slowness. My VM now runs on par with the VM on my old machine. I'm still kind of shocked that it isn't running significantly faster.
So indeed, the power settings make a big difference. I did find there are a couple of places to adjust power plan on new windows 11 - right click on the battery icon, go to those settings, chose "Best Performance" for power mode. This gives the best results - startup time for my software is 45s. On "balanced" it takes 65s, and the interface is slow and poor. So at least that new VM is usable on that power setting. Also, doesn't seem to degrade too much when on battery power. Still a far shot from the 18s startup time on my host, but at least it is usable, and once it's up and running, don't need to restart too often. The old VM is still unusable. I am going to try kenflagg's suggestion next and see how that does for me. Thanks!