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64 Bit Host OS VPC Performance Issues

    Question

  • I have Windows 7 64 bit as a host OS.....and I am using Windows Virtual PC (WVPC) RC for my virtual PCs.....which I formerly hosted under a Vista 64 bit host OS and Virtual PC 2007.

    Upon conducting the switchover to WVPC RC I remove the VPC Additions and install the Windows Integrated Components successfully....however the performance within the virtual PCs is erratic at best.  I have 4gb of memory on a Thinkpad T61p with Hardware Virtualization.  Even running a single virtual PC with 1.5gb of assigned memory is "dog slow".....compared to VPC 2007 under Vista 64 bit host OS.   CPU usage is erratic when the virtual PC should be idle.   Mouse usage is unpredictable.

    I have finally backed off of this configuration and made a movement to evaluate VMWare Workstation.....which performs quite well under a Windows 7 64 bit host OS.

    Please advise of any suggestions you have.   Windows 7 is great....I love it....and I am a big MSFT fan....however Windows Virtual PC (WVPC) RC does not look to be ready for PRIMETIME.   As they used to say in The South as I was growing up...."....This DOG DOES NOT HUNT...."
    Thursday, October 1, 2009 8:10 PM

Answers

  • I have a similar environment....I have two VMs....one with Vista 32 Bit/VS.NET and my entire development environment.....and another VM for what I call administrative use....Windows 7 32 Bit/ Office (word, email, etc), online banking, investments, etc.  I of course want everything in VMs so all of my work is portable.

    At this point it looks like I will opt for Windows 7 64 as the host OS....however due to what I am seeing with performance and other desktop integration features I may go with VMWare for now.

    Thanks for your support.
    • Marked as answer by PLippard Monday, October 5, 2009 3:05 PM
    Monday, October 5, 2009 12:30 PM

All replies

  • This sounds similar to the old problem of processor throttling. To help diagnose the problem, you could try going into the bios and disabling Intel Speedstep or something like that.
    Friday, October 2, 2009 1:45 AM
  • Why do you feel the poor performance only occurs with Windows 7 Virtual PC support.....and not with Virtual PC 2007 ?....and also not with VMWare ?
    Friday, October 2, 2009 3:01 AM
  • I don't have an opinion. I'd like more evidence to rules things in or out.
    Friday, October 2, 2009 3:23 AM
  •   Have you looked at Sun's VirtualBox? It has much the same look and feel as VPC 2007 and runs fine in Windows 7. It will even run 64-bit guests if you have hardware virtualization (which is a given if you can run WVPC).

      I agree with John that is sounds like a CPU throttling problem. Have you tried a clean install of the OS in the vm rather than using a pre-existing vhd? It could be some odd incompatibility. I have had a problem with some vhds which just wouldn't run well under a different virtualization system. A fresh install ran perfectly.

      I must say that the vms I moved from 64-bit Vista with VPC 2007 to 64-bit Win7 with WVPC work fine. Ditto for the moving them to VirtualBox on Win 7.
     
    Bill
    Friday, October 2, 2009 7:37 AM
  • Yes....The T61p has SpeedStep Technology enabled.

    Any suggestions ?
    Friday, October 2, 2009 2:13 PM
  • My entire Development environment is on a VHD.  Bebuilding the VHD is out of the question. 

    One would expect a degree of upward compatibility from VPC 2007 to Windows 7 Virtual PC.

    I appreciate your comments regarding VirtualBox....however at this point my evaluation of VMWare is looking quite good.  performance is excellent.....and VMWare converts the VHD as well to a VMDK.

    A lot of developers are interested in moving to Windows 7 ....Windows 7 looks like a very complete product....however many of these same developers MUST also have a suitable virtualization option.  This degree of incompatibility between VPC 2007 and Windows 7 VPC is rather hard to believe.

    I have been using VPC 2004/2007 for years.

    Friday, October 2, 2009 2:18 PM
  • Forgot to mention that the BIOS Speedstep option is set to enabled/automatic....which is the recommended setting.
    Friday, October 2, 2009 3:27 PM
  • BTW....additonal info.....PC in question is Thinkp-ad T61p ....Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T7800 @ 2.60GHZ  w/4gb of memory.
    Friday, October 2, 2009 5:16 PM
  • BTW....I also experienced the same performance problems with Windows Server 2008 R2 Virtual PCs.

    Can I please get some feedback on any suggestions you may have.
    Saturday, October 3, 2009 10:55 AM
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Virtual PCs? Virtual PC only supports 32-bit guests. Windows Server 2008 R2 is only 64-bit. Please provide more details.
    Saturday, October 3, 2009 2:23 PM
  • To clarify my earlier post....Windows Server 2008 R2 64 bit is the host OS.....the guest OS VPCs are Vista and Windows 7.....all experiencing poor performance.

    The point I was making is that both Windows 7 64 bit as a host OS.... and Windows Server 2008 R2 as a host OS both provide comparable performance in their VPCs.....very poor.

    Again....VPC 2007 under a Vista 64 bit host OS provide much better performance.....and of course VMWare as well.

    I would like to standardize on VHDs....rather than VMWare VMDKs....however I need better performance.

    What are your thoughts ?

    Thanks for your support.
    Saturday, October 3, 2009 7:14 PM
  • If your host OS is or can be Windows Sever 2008 R2, then you should use Hyper-V instead of Virtual PC. Performance will be much better using Hyper-V R2.
    Saturday, October 3, 2009 7:48 PM
  • Let me clarify my statement again.....I am/was using Hyper-V when Windows Server 2008 R2 is being used as host OS.

    With Windows 7...of course I am using Windows Virtual PC RC.

    Performance is poor with both WIndows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 as host OS.  I am using all the recommendd ways of installing both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.   I realize this is all new software....so I am going with "text book" installs.

    Again....performance with both Vista 64 bit/VPC 2007 and VMWare is acceptable.  VMWare is quite excellent.

    However, I prefer to stay with VHDs....however I feel a compellling need to move to Windows 7....however I simply can not live with the poor virtualziation performance.

    Thanks for your support.

    Please offer any suggestions.

    Sunday, October 4, 2009 12:29 AM
  • Forgot to mention that the BIOS Speedstep option is set to enabled/automatic....which is the recommended setting.

    It's not recommended when you're running Hyper-V.
    Sunday, October 4, 2009 2:09 AM
  • Please advise why it is not recommended ?....and please advise why it does not appear to be a problem with VPC 2007 or VMWare.

    I respect your recommendation, however if this is your advise I am inclined to make a permanent move to VMWare.

    Again, thanks for your support.
    Sunday, October 4, 2009 11:36 AM
  • My BIOS has separate SpeedStep settings based on AC connect versus Battery....so I have changed the AC connect setting to Maximum Performance.....and I will let you know how the Windows 7 host OS and virtual machines is....after I evaluate this mkorning.
    Sunday, October 4, 2009 12:37 PM
  • I have disabled Speedstep in the BIOS settings and I do see a performance improvement....however there is room for improvement...

    To review.....my configuration is as follows....

    - Windows 7 64 bit host OS...with either Windows 7 Virtual PC (WVPC) RC support ....or VMWare 6.5 Workstation ...(both are NOT installed at same time)
    - One Vista 32 bit guest OS with my entire VS.NET development environment (VM # 1)
    - One Windows 7 32 bit guest OS (VM # 2)

    Here are some performance results when comparing WVPC RC to VMWare...

    1. With only VM # 1 active ... opening a web site project...WVPC takes 1 min 0 sec... VMWare takes 0 min 25 sec.
    2. With only VM # 1 active.... a build of one of my typical web sites ... WVPC takes 3 min 42 sec....VMWare takes 2 min 10 sec.
    3. With both VM # 1 and VM # 2 active... a build of the same web site ... WVPC takes 7 min 20 sec....VMWare takes 4 min 26 sec.


    I find that boot-up time is roughly the same for both WVPC and VMWare.... regardless of number of VMs active.

    Your tip regarding the BIOS Speedstep setting is appreciated.

    Your thoughts on the performance results are welcome...




    Sunday, October 4, 2009 9:23 PM
  • Hyper-V is a type 1 hypervisor running directly on top of the hardware. Virtual PC, VMware workstation, and VirtualBox are type 2 hypervisors that run inside a program running on the physical machine's hardware. Because of this, type 2 hypervisors have a longer path to travel before being serviced by the hardware. This results in intrinsically slower performance.

    Hardware throttling just doesn't work well when virtual machines are involved. The hypervisor shouldn't be competing with something else for control of the processor.

    Since you are using a laptop and haven't mentioned an external drive, I'm assuming a single hard drive. Virtual machine performance is always suboptimal when using a single hard drive. I would never do that. My laptop has two hard drives. I always put the vhd files on the drive not hosting the operating system. It's better to put vhd files on a USB external drive than have them on C with everything else.

    If convenience is most important, I recommend Virtual PC. I've found it to perform well. However, if performance is the most important thing, I recommend Hyper-V because it offers the best in performance, although it isn't as convenient as VPC.

    Sunday, October 4, 2009 11:47 PM
  • Thanks for the info.

    AS you have suggested, I are running with two drives.  The primary drive contains the Windows 7 64 Bit host OS.

    The 2nd drive (Thinkpad Ultra Bay - 2.5 SATA drive) contains the virtual drives.
    Monday, October 5, 2009 10:22 AM
  • If someone were to use Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V on a laptop....how interchangable are the VHDs between Hyper-V and Windows 7 Virtual PC RC ?

    What about the Integration Components ?.....are they interchangable ?
    Monday, October 5, 2009 10:27 AM
  • If my objective is to use the host OS for being the manager of virtual machines....and nothing more (no applications running under the host OS)......do you think it is practical to consider Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V as the host OS....or do you think Windows 7 64 Bit and Windows 7 Virtual PC RC will offer some better desktop integration features that I am likely to prefer ?   Do you think there are underlying reasons why Windows Server 2008 R2 is only suitable in a server environment ?

    I have built primary hard drives with both Windows 7 64 Bit as the host OS vand another primary hard drive with Windows Server 2008 R2 as the host OS......and I am evaluating both.   The virtual machines will be on the secondary drive (Ultra Bay - SATA drive).

    I am primarily after performance.....however I would also want a minimum level of desktop features....such as suitable keyboard/mouse integration between host OS and guests.....visible indicators of what is happening (device icons, etc).

    In any event.....you advice on the question posed in the 1st paragraph is appreciated.
    Monday, October 5, 2009 10:51 AM
  • VPC and Hyper-V have different HALs, which is a problem. I fully documented this in my blog post: http://sqlblog.com/blogs/john_paul_cook/archive/2009/08/29/migrating-a-virtual-machine-from-virtual-pc-to-hyper-v-and-back.aspx

    Windows Server 2008 (all versions) does not support hibernation, which is desirable for laptop users. Hyper-V doesn't offer sound unless you connect via RDP (see another one of my blog posts: http://sqlblog.com/blogs/john_paul_cook/archive/2009/09/14/enabling-sound-on-hyper-v.aspx), which is what most people do.

    I dual boot my laptop between Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Windows 7 is on C and its virtual machines are on D. Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V is on D and its virtual machines are on C. When I am doing development, I use Hyper-V. When I'm researching a question for this forum or demoing XP Mode, I use Windows 7.
    Monday, October 5, 2009 11:40 AM
  • I have a similar environment....I have two VMs....one with Vista 32 Bit/VS.NET and my entire development environment.....and another VM for what I call administrative use....Windows 7 32 Bit/ Office (word, email, etc), online banking, investments, etc.  I of course want everything in VMs so all of my work is portable.

    At this point it looks like I will opt for Windows 7 64 as the host OS....however due to what I am seeing with performance and other desktop integration features I may go with VMWare for now.

    Thanks for your support.
    • Marked as answer by PLippard Monday, October 5, 2009 3:05 PM
    Monday, October 5, 2009 12:30 PM
  • I have a brand new Win 7 x64 host with brand new virtual pc's running both Win 7 and XP mode guests.  My hardware is high end desktop of the sort needed for video editing - multiple high speed disks and scads of RAM and processors.   I am appalled at the performance of all of the vpc's - the vpc's are virtually unuseable for serious work.   Not only that, the virtual display driver is quirky in the Win 7 guest and may well have something to do with the performance problems.   I've tried all the fixes suggested in the various forums (multiple disks, networking off, BIOS checks)   I have been using older virtual pc versions for years, with less impressive hardware, and had no problems and no performance issues -- this is a very disappointing development, Microsoft.  
    Wednesday, April 21, 2010 10:31 PM
  • Can you describe your environment a little better?  How much RAM are you giving the virtual machines, and how many are you trying to run at once. How much RAM are you leaving for the host?  What's the host's processor?  Are you using hardware virtualization or using the new update that allows Windows VPC to run without it? 
     
    Just what is slow?  (everything, mouse movements, networking?)
     
    Make sure you have the host power management set to high performance rather than the default of balanced...
     
    Make sure your video drivers are updated to the latest.
     
     
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Thursday, April 22, 2010 1:07 AM
  • I appreciate your interest in pursuing the problems I was having back in Sep/Oct 2009.... however I have since made the switch to VMWare Workstation.  

    I had been a long term user of VPC 2007 prior to Sep/Oct 2009 ....however I felt that MSFT took a step backwards with virtual machine support when Windows 7 was released....and with more and more interest in 64 bit....for which VMWare Workstation provided supported.....I made the switch to VMWare.

    Again....thanks for the follow-up......My blog with the Sep through Dec 2009 time frame posts will give you more details of the problems I was experiencing.....that blog is http://blog.plippard.com

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 1:18 AM
  • I was actually responding to HaiLua, sorry.
     
     

    Bob Comer - Microsoft MVP Virtual Machine
    Thursday, April 22, 2010 1:27 AM