How to disable debug mode in VMware Workstation Technology Preview 2014 for a serious speed boost

Posted by Paul Braren on Jul 11 2014 in
  • HowTo
  • Workstation
  • Click here to jump ahead to the simple tweak

    What's New in VMware Workstation Technology Preview 2014

    Virtual-Machine-Advanced-Settings

    Experimental performance tuning for VM suspend and resume - In this Technology Preview release, you can enable an experimental performance tuning specifically improve the VM suspend and resume time consumption. To enable the feature, add the following lines to the VMX and ensure the VM is set to Hardware Version 11.

    mainMem.save.vmem="FALSE"
    checkpoint.compressDumper="TRUE"

    This performance improvement applies to both encrypted VM and non-encrypted VM. In our in-house testing, suspend and resume are improved up to 20% and 60% respectively. We highly recommend you to try this feature and leave your feedback.

    I have a 64 bit Windows 7 VM I regularly use on my laptop. Even though I have 4GB allocated to that VM, resuming from suspend usually took only about 10 seconds, under VMware Workstation 10.0.3. It's a preallocated, encrypted C: drive in that VM, hosted on my 64 bit Windows 8.1 laptop. Not bad.

    I also have a full daily backups of this laptop. So rolling back is always a simple network boot away, restoring from my Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials VM that's always left running on my ESXi 5.5 vZilla host.. This gives me a certain fearlessness about trying out beta code, such as this preview that's destined to soon become VMware Workstation 11.

    Why do I run a VM locally, when I have an 5.5 ESXi host on my same gigabit network? Because Windows 7 Professional doesn't support multiple monitors in a remote desktop session, and I really want to take advantage of my three external monitors.

    So I went and downloaded and installed the public beta VMware-workstation-full-e.x.p-1946049.exe from

    VMware Workstation Technology Preview July 2014 (Download)

    Preview-2014-Download

    and quickly discovered that the same VM was now rather slow. All VMs were rather slow. Not just resuming, but using them. Stuttering sound, sluggish mouse, slow to switch to multiple monitors. Tried upgrading VMware Tools, rebooted, then upgraded the virtual hardware to the new version 11. Didn't seem to make a difference.

    So I quickly found myself seeking a way to disable the default debug mode that this preview arrives with.

    Yes, debug is useful for bug reports, so you don't want to do this if you're submitting bug reports and uploading support bundles. That's why it's enabled by default, and the per-VM settings are grayed out, when looking at a VM's Advanced settings, seen above right.

    Impatient with lack of answers to my VMware Community Discussion post

    [How to disable debug info gathering

    (Workstation Technology Preview 2014, aka Workstation 11 beta)](https://communities.vmware.com/thread/484066)

    I began to experiment a bit. Turns out disabling debug mode globally was rather straight-forward, seen in the very short video (and described) below. See for yourself!

    The results were a rather pleasant surprise. And I didn't even do the tweak yet, for faster VM suspend and resume (described by VMware at the top of this article).

    In the video, you'll also notice that I verify the tweak by checking the contents of the vmware.log file in the same directory as the VM, where the first line changes from:

    2014-07-11T01:00:10.113-04:00| vmx| I120: Log for VMware Player pid=20616 version=e.x.p build=build-1946049 option=Beta
    to
    2014-07-11T01:03:10.628-04:00| vmx| I120: Log for VMware Player pid=20616 version=e.x.p build=build-1946049 option=Release

    How to disable debug mode for VMware Workstation Technology Preview 2014

    Step by step

    I'm assuming you have a backup of your complete system, and a backup your C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation directory. Proceed at your own risk!

    1) suspend any running VMs in VMware Workstation Technology Preview (or Player)

    2) close VMware Workstation Technology Preview (or Player)

    3) rename this one file, from

    C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vmx-debug.exe
    to
    C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vmx-debug.exe-ORIGINAL

    4) launch VMware Workstation Technology Preview

    That's it. An immediate, obvious speed boost for all VMs. Before you go off and have too much fun, please drop a comment below, to let us know how it's going. For you, and your VMs! Even better, drop those comments in the VMware Community Discussions area. Note what VMware says in their blog, about your public comments:

    As with the prior Technology Preview May 2014, please post all of your feedback in the VMware Workstation Technology Preview 2014 community forum. Our Developers, Quality Assurance Engineers, Support Teams, Technical Writers, Product Marketing and Product Managers are all actively involved in the forums to ensure that your suggestions and comments get our attention.

    Remember, if you find yourself being asked to upload your log files, you're going to want to make sure debug is re-enabled first, before collecting your log files. How?

    Re-enable (slower) debug mode for VMware Workstation Technology Preview 2014

    collecting (then uploading) your VM's log files (for bug reports)

    1) suspend any running VMs in VMware Workstation Technology Preview (or Player)

    2) close VMware Workstation Technology Preview (or Player)

    3) rename this one file, from

    C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vmx-debug.exe-ORIGINAL
    to
    C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vmx-debug.exe

    4) launch VMware Workstation Technology Preview

    See also

    VMware Community Comments

    How to disable debug info gathering

    bhaverkamp and Woodyz on Jun 4 2013

    VMware Workstation 10 is feature rich, but you might be fine with the free VMware Player 6 Plus

    by Paul Braren on Sep 4 2013

    Experimental support for running the vSphere Beta in a virtual machine

    See this webpage for more details of the vSphere Beta Program.


    Jul 30 2014 Update

    I had a Windows 7 VM crash on me (stable for weeks, this was first error I've had, seen below.

    VMware Workstation unrecoverable error: (vthread-13)
    Exception 0xc0000005 (access violation) has occurred.

    VMware-Workstation-unrecoverable-error-vthread-13-Exception-0xc0000005-access-violation-has-occurred.

    Failed to lock the file

    Failed-to-lock-the-file

    I have no snapshots for this VM.  Looking into the last few dozen lines of the vmware.log file the error referred to didn't shed any additional light on the error. It's just a beta, and I have the VM backed up. So I simply deleted the 2 .lck files, then was immediately able to start the VM right back up again just fine.

    This workaround is been a common workaround for VM won't start types of errors for years now. Backup the entire VM's folder before messing around at your own risk! It's all explained at:

    Investigating hosted virtual machine lock files (1003857)
    kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1003857