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Keeping VMWare images small

October 21, 2008

Virtualization technology is used everywhere these days.  It really has changed the way I work and provides a number of advantages over traditional tools and methods.  I've created a library of VMWare instances with different products installed on each to avoid bogging down my laptop.

One difficulty I often run into is the size of vmware images can quickly become quite large.  Which in turn makes transfering them across the network to coworkers slow and painful.  Below are some tips on how I keep vmware instances down to a reasonable size.

  • Remove service pack uninstallers c:\windows\$NT*  (leave $hf_mig$)
  • Move c:\i386 to a common share not on the VM
  • Remove files inside C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
  • Remove any other unneeded files, such as installers, log files (I use WinDirStat to find large files)
  • Empty the recycle bin
  • From disk cleanup, advanced turn off the pagefile.sys and restart the vm
  • Shrink the image using the vmware tools (you will need free space on your host machine the size of the image)

VMWare Tools Shink Menu

If you have any other tips on how to manage vmware images, please post them in the comments!