The Not Enough Physical Memory on VMware mostly occurs due to version incompatibility. This could mean that your current VMware version isn’t compatible with the host OS version, the kernel version, or a recent system update.
Ironically enough, this error could indeed be caused by memory problems or other things like permission issues, but that’s the exception and not the rule.
This error can occur on all platforms, but in recent times, users have mostly faced it on macOS Big Sur and Monterey. As such, we’ll deal with that first.
How to Fix “Not Enough Physical Memory Issue” on VMware?
MacOS 11 (Big Sur) only supports VMware Fusion 12.x and later, while macOS 12 (Monterey) only supports Fusion 12.2.x and later. If you’re running any other macOS or Fusion version, we recommend checking this table on the VMware knowledgebase that lists the supported host operating systems.
If you’re a Fusion Pro user and are hesitant about getting a new license, it may be worth trying out Fusion Player, as it’s free for non-commercial use.
Although uncommon now, there was a similar incompatibility issue with Ubuntu and Arch a few years ago. Back then, the latest kernel versions were versions 4.13/14, and the VMware Workstation version was 14. So, if you’re running any of these old versions on your system, updating is the easiest way to resolve the error.
For instance, on Debian-based distros, you can update the Linux kernel with the following commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
If you want to switch to a different VMware version instead, we have a dedicated article on installing VMware on Linux if you require it. Alternatively, you can also use the following script to patch the issue without updating:
cd /tmp git clone https://github.com/mkubecek/vmware-host-modules.git cd vmware-host-modules git checkout workstation-14.0.0 tar cf vmmon.tar vmmon-only sudo cp vmmon.tar /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source sudo vmware-modconfig --console --install-all
On Windows, the best way to fix this error is to run VMware as administrator. Aside from this, you can try modifying the config file. Here’s how you can do this:
- Navigate to
C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware Workstation. If the config file isn’t here, it may be located at
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware Workstationinstead.
- Copy the
config.inifile and save it elsewhere as a backup.
- Now, open the file from Step 1 as an administrator.
- Add the following line at the end of the file:
vmmon.disableHostParameters = “TRUE”
- Save the changes, restart your PC, and check if the error is resolved.
On Windows 8.1 specifically, the KB2995388 update introduced this error in VMware Workstation 10, 11 beta, and VMware Player 6. This isn’t as relevant now, but for anyone still running these old versions, uninstalling the update or switching to a different VMware version should resolve the error. Here are the steps to uninstall said update:
- Press Win + R, type
appwiz.cpl, and press Enter.
- Click on View Installed Updates from the left pane.
- Select the update and press Uninstall.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and restart your PC afterward.
General Fixes For Not Enough Physical Memory Error
In addition to the platform-specific fixes we’ve mentioned above, there are a few general fixes applicable to all of them. For starters, it’s possible that the host OS actually doesn’t have enough memory to power on the guest. As such, you could close unnecessary applications to try and free some memory for the VM.
Alternatively, you could also reduce the amount of RAM allocated to the VM. If the guest OS is an antique, like Windows 95, for instance, this could be especially effective. This is because older operating systems often have top-end limits on the hardware that they can handle.
Finally, you could also try configuring the virtual memory swap setting. Here’s how you can do this:
- Launch VMware and select Edit > Preferences.
- In the Memory tab, select Allow most virtual machine memory to be swapped and press OK.
- Check if this resolves the error. If this setting leads to system performance degradation, you can revert the changes with the same steps.