Saturday, 3 August 2013

Virtual PC Performance Checklist

• Make sure your Host Operating System's disk is defragmented.
  This includes the System Disk (the disk your OS boots off of) as well as the Disk that holds your Virtual Hard Disk File.
• Run Fewer Applications.
I'm continually amazed when folks complain about VM performance and when I get to their desk I see that they are running Outlook. That 200+megs could be better used by the system. Are you running a VM or checking your email? Consider checking your email on a schedule,  or using Outlook Web Access while you work on your VM.
• Enable Hardware Assisted Virtualization
If you've got this on your computer, turn it on. There IS some concern about really sophisticated Trojans that can use this technology for evil, but for me, it's all good as it speeds most Guest Operating Systems (especially non-Microsoft ones) up quite a bit.
• Give your Virtual Machines LESS MEMORY
o I've found that 512 megs is just about the Ideal Amount of memory for 90% of your Virtual Machines. Don't bother trying to give them 1024 megs, it's just not worth the pressure it'll put on the Host Operating System.
• Considering making a custom Windows install for your VMs.
Rather than going to all the effort to REMOVE things, why not create a Windows installation that can be shared across your organization that doesn't include the crap ahead of time. There's a Windows Installation Customizer called nLite that lets you prepare Windows installations so they never include the stuff you don't want. Makes it easier if Solitaire is never installed
• Make sure the Guest Operating System is defragmented.
Disk Defragmenter that runs in that "Text Mode" place before Windows really starts up. This allows it to get at files that don't always get defragmented.
Don't use NTFS Compression on the Virtual Machine Hard Drive File in the Host Operating System
NTFS Compression doesn't work on files larger than 4 gigs, and can cause corruption.
Don't Remote Desktop or VNC into Host Operating Systems that are hosting Virtual Machines.
If you're remoting into a machine where THAT machine is running a VM, note that to the Remote Desktop protocol (and VNC) the VM just looks like a big square bitmap that is constantly changing. That guarantees you slow performance. If you can, instead, Remote Desktop into the Virtual Machine itself.
Make sure you've install the Virtual Machine Additions (or Tools, or Utilities, or Whatever)
Virtual PC and VMWare and Parallels all include drivers and tools that improve the performance of your Virtual Machine. They are there for good reason, make sure you've installed them.
 Also, if you're running a Virtual Machine created under and older version, like Virtual PC 2004, and you're now running under a newer one, like 2007, pay attention to the upgrade warnings and install the latest drivers and Virtual Machine Additions.

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