Mac keeps stuttering, crapping out, with Parallels...

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by thejadedmonkey, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Hello all, I've got a MBP, 2.16 C2D model. 1ghz of RAM, 128mb video card, more then capable of running OS X, some web development software (we're talking basic text wrangler and fetch right now), and linux under parallels. I finished updating linux, quit parallels.. opened up some web stuff to work on a site I'm doing, opened up Parallels again for some XP testing, and *boom*.

    The system starts bogging down on me, and Parallels starts to take a nose dive (which it seems to do a lot when I have it open, close it, and then try to open the app again). Only this time, it won't let me quit it, or open force quit.. or even open Activity monitor (I open it and it crashes right away).

    Normally, I'd just restart because that fixes everything, but I'm at the end of downloading a live CD, and I don't wanna have to wait another few hours.. so I try opening iStat Nano in dashboard.. but something goes screwy and whenever I try to add a widget, none appear.. but then whenever I click on the finder icon in my dock, I get a new flight tracker widget appear on my desktop (not dashboard!).

    Well, I finally got activity monitor opened, killed Parallels, killed Dock, and things went back to normal.. except pmTool was using ~75% of my CPU power and making everything else sluggish, so I took the chance and quit Activity monitor and reopened it.. right now everything's fine.

    My gut is that Parallels, when it doesn't shut down properly, does something to WindowServer, causing the vram it's using to balloon up to >3gig's, and doing something to the process so that it doesn't want Parallels to restart again..

    The obvious answer is to reboot, (which I'll do in 5 minutes when this download is complete) but I really hate having to do this whenever Parallels mucks up on me. Is there anything that I can do to keep my computer sane when I try to run Parallels, or is this just something I have to put up with?

    EDIT: I just tried opening Parallels again, and it froze my whole computer. Key combos didn't work, and the screen was frozen.. iTunes kept playing though ;)

    And possibly related, but probably not, every time I reboot, I have a folder called "Recovered Items" in my trash can.. does anyone know what that's about?
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    If you've only got 1GB of RAM (I assume that was a typo), then that is probably at least part of the issue; Parallels does its job, but it isn't what you'd call RAM efficient, and in my limited experience with 2GB it eats a LOT.

    Sounds like maybe thrashing was part of the issue? That can drag things to a crawl really, really quickly. If your virtual machine was trying to reserve nearly all of the available physical RAM for itself, that could cause symptoms something like what you're describing.

    And I've also noticed that, as you saw, sometimes it seems to not quit properly, leaving something running in the background that shouldn't be.

    Sticking another gig of RAM in may clear up the issues, or maybe try cranking the amount of RAM available to the virtual machine way down to bare minimum?

    That "Recovered Items" folder is normal; if there's improperly cleaned-up stuff left sitting in the /tmp directory (I think), it gets stuck into that folder after a reboot. Usually only shows up if you needed to kill something that was misbehaving or do a forced restart.

    I know I see it periodically, and that it's 99.9% certainly fine to delete without checking, but here's the official Apple document on the topic:
  3. steamboat26 macrumors 65816


    May 25, 2006
    Arlington VA
    More RAM should fix your problem, parallels is a real resource hog

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