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Running Windows (or anything else) on your Mac Discussion of Classic or running Windows, Linux and other OSes on the Mac.

Running Parallels prl_vm_app uses all my RAM


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Mikethebook

 
Member Since: May 29, 2009
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I'm running, or trying to run, Parallels Desktop for Mac 5 on my Mini Mac (2009 - 2GB RAM) with Snow Leopard 10.6.7 and Windows XP set at 512MB. The trouble is that Parallels prl_vm_app file chews up nearly 400MB of my remaining RAM reducing my Mac's speed down to zero. It does even when I pause the VM. Parallel's support is awful unless you're prepared to pay through the nose to get it so I'm wondering what to do to get rid of this app or reduce its consumption of valuable RAM.
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chscag

 
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Did you install the Parallels Guest tools? You should be able to limit the amount of system memory that Parallels will allocate to any specific VM it's running. Since you have 2 GB of system memory in your Mini, that should allow enough memory for normal operations and the XP virtual machine.

If the Guest tools haven't been installed, follow the directions from this LINK to install them.
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SammySlim

 
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Try allocating 1 GB to each once you install the tools. That will be more efficient than 512; what it's likely doing is a swap file or similar which is slowing you down. I use 1 GB for each on my 2 GB MB and it works fine on the OSX side.
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Mikethebook

 
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Thanks for your replies. SammySlim, how many cores do you allocate to the VM, one or two?
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Mikethebook

 
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No, I tried allocating 1GB to the VM and everything slowed down to a standstill even the VM. I returned the VM to 512MB PLUS allocated 2 cores to it and now things are much better. But my question remains. Why, when pausing the VM in Parallels is supposed to cut down on RAM usage does the prl_vm_app chew up almost 400MB RAM? When I afford it I'm going to buy last year's Mac Mini and upgarde the RAM to 8GB. That might seem a lot but Lion is looking to take 2GB.
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bobtomay

 
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The Mac Mini only has 2 cores...

I use VMWare here instead of Parallels, but pretty sure you need to shut down the VM to dump the memory, not just pause it.

I'm with Sammy on this one. When I was only running 2GB RAM, I assigned 1 core and 1GB RAM to the VM and not much problem on either side. Guess that's going to depend on the apps you're trying to run in each OS though.

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Mikethebook

 
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According to Parallels,"Pausing a virtual machine releases the resources, such as RAM and CPU, currently used by this virtual machine. The released resources can then be used by the host computer and its applications or by other virtual machines running on the host computer.
Note: Only the amount of RAM used by the guest OS will be released. The memory used by the Parallels Desktop application will still be locked." Which still doesn't explain the large usage by the prl_vm_app when the VM is paused.
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