I’ve been running Microsoft Windows 7 within VMWare Fusion and it works great, but I recently noticed that the virtual drive has expanded to take up a whole lotta space on my real hard drive on the Mac. Is there some way to trim it down? I need the disk space…
I’m another fan of VMWare Fusion and use it extensively with various versions of Windows and Linux distributions on my Mac OS X system. Since I have an SSD on my MacBook Pro, however, I also know what you mean about needing to keep an eye on the size of the virtual machine that Fusion creates: without paying attention it can grow and grow, even as you might not be doing much on the Win7 side. Weird.
In fact, I checked out my own virtual machine after getting this question and found that it had grown to 30GB in size, which is a hefty percentage of a 250GB drive, for sure!
Fortunately, VMWare has already realized that this could be a problem and includes a compression program that makes it pretty darn easy to fix. If you know the right sequence of actions…
To see your own virtual machine status, choose “Get Info…” from the “Virtual Machine” menu:
It’ll show you stats like this:
The problem is, as you can see in the warning at the bottom, you can’t clean up the virtual machine if it’s actually running.
Solution? In Windows 7 choose “Shut Down” and let it power down.
Now go back to that very same “Get Info…” and it’s changed:
Ahhh… now you can see that Fusion thinks it can reclaim 7.3GB of disk space. That’s a decent chunk so it’s definitely worth the processing time. To reclaim the extra space, simply click on the “Clean Up Virtual Machine” button and…
On my system this took less than a minute and when it was done the stats on my virtual machine were definitely better:
Here’s something interesting, though: Fusion thinks that the virtual machine is 16.6GB in size, but when I looked at the Mac OS Finder’s information about the virtual machine file itself, things were a bit bigger:
This does lead to the question “what’s the extra 3.3GB all about?” but I dont’ have an answer. I’ll say “overhead” but perhaps someone from VMWare can answer it? In any case, a big reduction in disk usage made the option well worth using occasionally.
Why not post your own before and after figures too, so we can get a sense of how inefficient Win7 / Fusion are about managing a virtual drive?