Parallels 8 high CPU when idle, MBP 2012 10.8.1

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration of Parallels Desktop' started by AndrewBT, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. AndrewBT

    AndrewBT Member

    Parallels 8 high CPU when idle, MBP 2012 10.8.1, Win7 Guest

    Hi all,

    I've recently bought 2x licenses to Parallels 8 and installed Windows 7 in a virtual machine. I am running on a Macbook Pro mid 2012 with OSX 10.8.1 and 4GB RAM, 2.3GHZ i7 quad core processor.

    Since the computer is new I've installed plenty of software and migrated ~300GBytes of files. After a settling in period for indexing, time machine, I'm noticing the battery life is unusually low when running parallels (even when Win7 idle). Battery life is ~6:30 in OSX which is dropping to sub 2 hours when Parallels 8 is running.

    In addition I notice that the CPU usage in Mac Activity Monitor shows that parallels is consuming 20-30% CPU even when both operating systems are idle (no programs open in either OS, win7 task manager showing idle). The MBP gets very hot even when idling with Parallels 8 running. Both CPU consumption / battery life are rectified by powering down the virtual machine.

    I have enabled both optimize for VM performance and "Long battery life". I have set the memory for the VM to 1.5GB and 250MBytes of video memory.

    I am hoping to get ~4 to 5 hours battery life out of MBP + Parallels + Win7 as I am a windows software developer who requires performance and portability. I don't mind disabling the nVidia GPU in Parallels/Win7 and am also about to upgrade to 512SSD / 16GBytes RAM which may well improve things.

    Please assist - right now I am considering returning the MBP and Parallels. Of course, I'd like to debug the system as I'm sure these things can be improved!
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  2. mbkzar

    mbkzar Bit poster

    Have the same issue on my late 2011 mbook pro plus the charging goes wonky - as soon as I start parallels and windows 7 the system decides the battery is fully charged, even when it's not - you can clearly see that the charge percentage is less than a 100. The battery continues discharging until the mbook shuts down even when plugged in. As soon as windows and parallels are shut down then charging resumes almost immediately. Wish I had not updated to OSX 10.8.1 and Parallels 8.0 when I did but I was taken in by the promise that the 10.8.1 had improved the battery life issue with the 10.8.0 o/s release. Apparently the mac os X 10.8.2 s/w release dramatically improves power handling so that may be more of an issue than parallels - will do the o/s update tonight and see if this improves performance.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  3. Larry_P

    Larry_P Bit poster

    Solved high CPU issues with Parallels 8

    Hi - After many months of frustration, and fans going crazy on my MBP 15 (late 2011) and MBA 13 (June 2012) i finally found a solution that worked. Firstly, I noticed that CPU ran high only for the first few hours of the VM operation then it settled down. In the beginning i figured I just have to tolerate this... until I checked what is using resources on the Win7 side, and I found a process called WMPNETWK.EXE. After some searching I found these instructions:

    Turn off the "WMPnetwk.exe" service
    Under the "RUN" command in the start meni type "services.msc"
    Scroll down to "Windows media player network sharing"
    Double click and under startup type set to disabled

    Once I did this and rebooted, no more high CPU! I hope this helps!!!
  4. YaqoubA

    YaqoubA Bit poster


    I hope this will fix my problem that the CPU run 100%.

    Will be back after the trial.
  5. AndrewBT

    AndrewBT Member

    Didn't make any difference to me - Windows Media Player Network Sharing service was already off. CPU is at ~50% in Activity Monitor when I just idle the virtual machine.

    Really poor show Parallels, I'm strongly considering going to bootcamp because of these ongoing CPU/heat/poor battery life issues.
  6. markjeske

    markjeske Bit poster

    Try disabling windows 7 screen saver

    I had the same issue as others here, but noticed that parallels cpu always seemed to spike after
    I hadn't been using the vm for a while but as soon as I clicked on the vm window the %cpu would
    drop off, from say 18-25% down to about 7-8%.

    Yesterday I disabled the screen saver in windows 7 and since then haven't seen the issue. Now parallels
    hovers around 4-6% cpu when I'm not doing anything.

    Something to try.

    This was on a macbook air latest model/os, parallels 8.0.1, windows 7 guest.
  7. Andrew@Parallels

    Andrew@Parallels Parallels Team

    Guys, does setting only 1 CPU in Virtual Machine --> Configure make a difference?
    Also the antivirus software can cause this.

    Once the you observe the issue again, please hit Help --> Report a Problem and post your IDs here.
  8. aaronadams

    aaronadams Bit poster

    I've been experiencing the same issue.

    I have a 4-core processor, with a Windows 8 virtual machine assigned to use all 4 cores.

    With the virtual machine completely idle, it uses 50% CPU (out of 400%).

    My issue was escalated to level 2 support, and they spent an hour on my machine remotely today, pulling all sorts of data. They couldn't fix the issue, but they said they would forward the data to the development team.

    And then, just like that... the problem disappeared! Literally right after the support agent disconnected from my computer. Idle CPU usage is down by 75-80%, to acceptable, non-lap-searing levels.

    I don't know how it was fixed; nothing tangible was changed. The support agent altered plenty of settings, but every single one was eventually changed back, and the VM still exhibited the high CPU usage while idle. There was no one setting, no one thing, that fixed this issue.

    But ultimately, this gives me hope; I experienced this issue consistently for months, and now, for two hours, this issue has been resolved. It proves that there's a problem; and it also proves that there's a solution.

    Hopefully my support ticket helps them get a handle on this issue. It's cost them at least one sale so far, as my boss is currently waiting to see if my issues reoccur before he makes the switch from Mac Office to Parallels Desktop + Windows + Office.
  9. Chitinid

    Chitinid Bit poster

    Strange fix

    Oddly enough, closing steam fixed this for me. I'm not sure if you have steam running, but it's entirely possible that some particular application in your VM is causing the CPU issues. I had constant 50% CPU usage while idle from Parallels, down to 10-15% after closing Steam.
  10. aaronadams

    aaronadams Bit poster

    I don't doubt that something inside the VM could have been causing the problems outside the VM; but it's important to note that in my case, the VM itself really was idle (e.g. 0-2% CPU usage), while the Parallels VM process in OS X was showing high CPU usage, as per the screenshot I've attached.

    If that was the same in your case, then maybe you're onto something.

    In my case, nothing notable was changed, inside or outside the VM, that should have caused or fixed this issue; so I'm still thinking this bug is probably related to the virtual machine "container," and not to the virtual machine itself.

    Attached Files:

  11. Chitinid

    Chitinid Bit poster

    That's exactly the situation I had. I noticed that when I logged out in windows (without shutting down the VM), the problem went away. Thus I figured that it must be some program that was running that was causing Parallels to have high CPU usage despite producing none in the VM. To check whether you have a similar issue, see if logging out causes the high CPU usage to go away.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  12. abovesociety

    abovesociety Bit poster

    Worked for me thank you
  13. hacker_112

    hacker_112 Bit poster

    I have the same problem. It seems to be proportional to the number of CPU cores given to the Virtual Machine. When I gave it 8 CPU:s I got 50% load on "Parallels VM", but with 1 CPU it is as low as 16-20%.

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