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Disabling the balloon driver (1002586)


This article provides the steps to disable the balloon driver in a virtual machine.


Warning: Disabling the balloon driver in a virtual machine results in performance issues with the ESXi/ESX host. For more information, see the vSphere Resource Management Guide.

Disabling ballooning via the vSphere Client

To set the maximum balloon size to zero:
  1. Using the vSphere Client, connect to the vCenter Server or the ESXi/ESX host where the virtual machine resides.
  2. Log into the ESXi/ESX host as a user with administrative rights.
  3. Shut down the virtual machine.
  4. Right-click the virtual machine listed on the Inventory panel and click Edit Settings.
  5. Click the Options tab, then under Advanced, click General.
  6. Click Configuration Parameters.
  7. Click Add row and add the parameter sched.mem.maxmemctl in the text box.
  8. Click on the row next to it and add 0 in the text box.
  9. Click OK to save changes.
To re-enable the balloon driver in a virtual machine:
  1. Using the vSphere Client, connect to the vCenter Server or the ESXi/ESX host where the virtual machine resides.
  2. Shut down the virtual machine if it is powered on.
  3. SSH to the ESXi/ESX host. For more information, seeĀ Connecting to an ESX host using an SSH client (1019852).
  4. Change directory to the datastore where the virtual machine's configuration file resides.
  5. Back up the virtual machine's configuration file.
  6. Edit the virtual machine's configuration file (virtual_machine_name.vmx) and remove this entry:

    sched.mem.maxmemctl = "0"

  7. Save and close the file.
  8. Power on the virtual machine.
Note: You cannot remove the entry via the Configuration Parameters UI once it has been added. You must edit the configuration file (.vmx) for the virtual machine to remove the entry.

Disabling ballooning via the Windows registry

To disable ballooning on the virtual machine:

Note: This procedure modifies the Windows registry. Before making any registry modifications, ensure that you have a current and valid backup of the registry and the virtual machine. For more information on backing up and restoring the registry, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 136393.
  1. Log into the guest OS.
  2. Click Start > Run, type regedit, and press Enter. The Registry Editor window opens.
  3. Navigate to:


  4. Change the Start key from 2 to 4.
  5. Save the setting and restart the guest OS.

Disabling ballooning via VMware Tools uninstallation/reinstallation
  1. Uninstall VMware Tools from the guest OS.
  2. Reinstall VMware Tools using the Custom Settings option, and deselect the Memory Control Drivers.

Additional Information

For additional information, see Troubleshooting ESX/ESXi virtual machine performance issues (2001003).

Note: The links in this article were correct as of October 1, 2013. If you find a link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.


enable-balloon-driver disable-balloon-driver

Update History

09/28/11 - Edited the solution heading as disabling balloon driver in virtual machine instead of ESX. Also, a clarification in navigating correct options that is "under Advanced select General" 11/28/2012 - Added link to KB article 2001003 04/12/2013 - Added alternate methods 09/26/2013 - Updated the link for Resource Management Guide to point to VMware Documentation Center where the guide is available for each vSphere release.

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