Poor Video/Mouse Performance in VMWare Console with Windows Server 2008 R2

An issue has been floating around that VMWare Tools are not working as well as they should under Windows Server 2008 R2.  This does not appear to be an issue if the tools are installed fresh on an installation as opposed to being part of the SysPrep’d image or otherwise deployed during the server installation phase.  The primary symptom is slow mouse performance under the VMWare console.

The root cause of this is that Windows Server is examining the hardware it is on and installing what it considers the appropriate drivers for the situation.  It finds compatible, default drivers of its own and therefore does not use the VMWare drivers.  Even though the VMWare tools are running properly overall, they do not attempt to correct the video or mouse drivers.

In order to correct this , you need to manually replace the video & mouse driver and then restart the server.  Once this is done, Video and Mouse performance is greatly enhanced.

The proper video driver can be found at:

“C:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware\Drivers\wddm_video”

…and the proper mouse driver can be found at:

“%program files%\Vmware\VMWare Tools\Drivers\mouse”

NOTE:  On the mouse driver, once you browse for the proper driver, you will have to select “Let me pick from a list of device drivers installed on my computer” as opposed to just hitting “Next.”  Windows 2008 R2 does not see the VMWare driver as a better driver than its own.

Once both drivers are corrected, you will need to reboot your server.  If you look in Device Manager, you should see “VMWare SVGA 3D…” under Display Adapters and “VMWare Pointing Device” under Mice and other pointing devices.

About Rebecca Harness

Rebecca Harness is a Business Information Security Officer (BISO) for a publicly-traded, global information solutions company. As BISO, she champions security initiatives and recommends strategies to mitigate risk, facilitating innovation and new product development. She’s also responsible for representing the business unit’s security program in client facing engagements, conferences, and industry forums. Prior to her current role, she was an influential cybersecurity leader for one of the world’s largest transportation providers, known for transforming information security efforts into well-orchestrated programs. There, she developed an innovative methodology for delivering key information security priorities as a service model, leading to quicker adoption enterprise-wide while significantly reducing operational costs. She also led and modernized their global, multi-brand PCI Assessment and other compliance initiatives. In the early 2000’s, Rebecca developed one of St. Louis' leading Managed Services Providers from a startup in a spare bedroom into a mature consulting company with 30+ employees and 150+ clients in the Greater St. Louis Area. Rebecca holds many certifications, including; ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA); ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP); and GIAC Security Leadership Certified (GSLC). She’s also a proud alumni of Hastings College and a longtime member of the Society of American Magicians.

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