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Windows 7: Why are virtual machines always so slow?

22 Feb 2011   #1

Windows 8 Pro x64; Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 on VirtualBox
 
 
Why are virtual machines always so slow?

I love the idea of virtual machines....being able to test/use software in a program, without affecting anything else, but they always come out with bad results for me. On whatever computer I use, on whatever OS and hardware, the virtual machines are always slower than if you had it installed on the computer. I'd love to have Windows Vista and or XP on a virtual machine along with a Linux OS, I've already tried with various virtual machine software, and they're always just so slow. I gave XP Mode a try, and it was too slow to use. My system has relatively good hardware, so I don't understand why they are slow. Is this normal? Or is there a fix for this?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Feb 2011   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro x64
 
 

Your CPU may be the cause of this slowness, it is clocked at 1.3GHz which is barely sufficient for running VMs
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Feb 2011   #3

Windows 8 Pro x64; Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 on VirtualBox
 
 

That might be the cause, my CPU is pretty weak compared to the newer ones available. It was nice when I got this machine two or so years ago, but everything changes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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22 Feb 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I'm not entirely sure what you are seeing, or why. In my environment, my VM's are always quite speedy. In fact, they boot up and shut down was faster than my physical machine. Overall, they are a tad bit slower than the physical machine when it comes to running a CPU intensive application....but i believe that a majority of this is caused by the weaker simulated hardware devices that the VM uses. My experience has been the same with XP Mode, Virtual Box and VMWare Player 3.x.

For me, I normally run my VM's on these machines;
--Laptop with Pentium Core 2 Duo P8600 at 2.4Ghz with 4GB of RAM.
--Desktop with Pentium Core 2 Duo E8400 at 3.6Ghz with 8GB of RAM.
--Desktop with Pentium Core 2 Quad Q9400 at 2.66Ghz with 8GB of RAM.
--Desktop with Pentium Core 2 Quad Q9550 at 3.2Ghz with 8GB of RAM.

One thing to make sure of is that you install the products "tools". VirtualBox calls them "Virtual Machine Additions" and VMware calls it "Vmware tools". These will certainly improve the performance of the VM.

Also, be sure to set your expectations right. You aren't going to be able to setup a Virtual XP machine for hardcore gaming. The video subsystem simply won't be able to handle it. But to setup a Virtual XP machine to surf the web to avoid malware from your physical machine should be just fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Feb 2011   #5

Windows 8 Pro x64; Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 on VirtualBox
 
 

I totally forgot about virtual machine additions....maybe I'll give those a try , but I'm still guessing its my low-clocked CPU

I'd still like to be able to use Vista somewhere.....a virtual machine seems like the best option, I'd prefer to have a dual-boot, but I already have a data partition, and my hard drive is too small for 3 partitions (250GB).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Feb 2011   #6

Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit
 
 

It depends on how much of your CPU (including cores, if you have a multi-core CPU) and RAM you allocate. I have an AMD Phenom II X4 @ 3.0 GHz and 4GB of RAM and I can run 4 VMs at once. Of course, it also depends on what you're running. Virtualizing XP doesn't take much of a resource, but Windows 7 is a different story.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Feb 2011   #7
whs

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I have no complaints about Ubuntu in vBox. I run it on a 2.5GHz Duo Core and a 2.4GHz Quad. But both systems have SSDs - maybe that makes a difference. I have, of course, the guest additions.

The Chromium on Ubuntu is just as fast as Chrome on Windows7 native. Also other operations are quite fluent. At the time I was also running Windows 7 Beta in vBox and was very pleased with the performance.

Your 1.3 GHz low power CPU is unusual - even was 2 years ago. Is that a Netbook?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Feb 2011   #8

Windows 8 Pro x64; Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 on VirtualBox
 
 

Its sort of like a netbook, I'd call it halfway between a netbook and a laptop. Its got a 12.1" sized screen, so the form factor is like a netbook, except its far more powerful than one, it runs Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit pretty fast....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Feb 2011   #9
whs

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by McDougal View Post
Its sort of like a netbook, I'd call it halfway between a netbook and a laptop. Its got a 12.1" sized screen, so the form factor is like a netbook, except its far more powerful than one, it runs Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit pretty fast....
I would say that if you replaced the HDD with a 120GB SSD, you would get better results.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Feb 2011   #10

Windows 8 Pro x64; Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 on VirtualBox
 
 

Yeah I'm really curious about SSDs....I'd definitely consider doing that except I have no clue how to replace it, my laptop is so small and locked down....so far the only thing I've been able to do on it is upgrade it to 4GB RAM from the stock 2GB lol
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Why are virtual machines always so slow?





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