Slow Windows 2008 VM Video Performance when viewing through an ESX console

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Today one of my colleagues mentioned he was experiencing poor video performance with a windows 2008 VM.  When he accessed the VM via vCenter Server Console the mouse was performing poorly..

We did a bit of research and found the article below… it fixed our issue in a jiffy..

Note: This post/notes are simply for my reference and I don’t recommend you apply this to your environment…

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1011709

Troubleshooting SVGA drivers installed with VMware Tools on Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 running on ESX 4.0

Details

  • You receive a black screen on the virtual machine when using Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2 as a guest operating system on ESX 4.0.
  • You experience slow mouse performance on Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine.

Solution

This issue can occur due to the XPDM (SVGA) driver provided with VMware Tools. This is a legacy Windows driver and is not supported on Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 guest operating systems.

To workaround this issue, replace the Display Adapter default-installed driver within the virtual machine with the driver contained in the wddm_video folder. In vCenter Server 4.1 (for Windows 2008 R2 operating systems), the wddm_video folder is in C:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\Drivers.

To move a copy of this driver from the vCenter Server to the virtual machine:

  1. Open a command line share to the vCenter Server from the virtual machine:

    c$ share

  2. Navigate to C:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\Drivers and copy the driver to a location on the virtual machine (C:\, for example).
  3. Within the virtual machine, right-click Computer > Manage > Diagnostics > Device Manager, then expand the Display Adapters selection.
  4. Right-click the Driver that is currently installed and choose Update Driver Software. Browse to the folder that you copied from vCenter Server, select it, then follow the wizard.
  5. When the wizard completes, reboot the virtual machine.

To resolve this issue, update to ESX 4.0 Update 1. A new WDDM driver is installed with the updated VMware Tools and is compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2.

If you are able to update to ESX 4.0 Update 1, but receive a black screen on the virtual machine after changing to the new driver, click Edit Settings and change the video settings to 32MB. 

If you cannot update to ESX 4.0 Update 1: 

  1. Deselect the driver included with ESX 4.0.
  2. When you install VMware Tools, select Custom or Modify in the VMware Tools installation wizard
  3. Deselect the SVGA (XPDM) driver.

You can also remove the VMware Tools SVGA driver from the Device Manager after installing VMware Tools.

Note: To install the drivers successfully, ensure that the virtual machine hardware version is 7.

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