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Speed up your VirtualBox

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12 Sep 2016

Speed up your VirtualBox

Virtual Machines are really great when you need to try out new Operating Systems or use different Operating Systems simultaneously on a single machine. Properly setting up VMs can be tricky as every Host machine has different configuration, also the needs of Operation Systems differ. There are many virtualization products available on the web but we’ll be specifically talking about the VirtualBox provided by Oracle.

Taking care of the following things may improve Guest OS performance drastically.

Allocate Your Resources Properly

Try allocating the recommended amount of memory as specified by the developer, but you should also take care about your host system. Allocating too much memory to the Guest OS may reduce the performance of both the host and guest OS.

VirtualBox provides you with many formats of Virtual Disks, you may choose whichever suits you the best. The format should not affect the performance of your VM, but the allocation strategy will. You should not use a dynamically allocated disk if performance is what you seek. Dynamically Allocated disks are slower as compared to the Fixed size disks, so create a Fixed size virtual disk with the required space.

Also you should consider storing the Virtual Disk on a Solid State Disk (SSD) as it is a lot faster that the traditional HDD.

Tweak Other Settings

Enabling VT-x/AMD-V and Nested Paging improves the performance drastically, but these options are hardware dependent so you should check if your processor supports them (also you need to enable them in you PCs BIOS)

Install Guest Additions

The Guest OS installed in virtual may not work seamlessly like the guest OS may have a low resolution, the mouse pointer integration between the Host and Guest. VirtualBox provides a set of guest operating system dependent tools that they call Guest Additions to overcome these shortcomings.

To install Guest Additions firstly you need to boot into the guest OS, then go to Devices -> Insert Guest Additions CD Image. Now that you’ve inserted the disk, you can install the Additions like any other software on your Guest OS.

Increase Display Memory

Even though the GUI of VirtualBox only shows VRam upto 128MB, VirtualBox supports VRam upto 256MB. This can ameliorate the graphic performance of your guest OS. Increasing the VRam requires you to go to the VirtualBox installation directory and open the Command Prompt or Terminal in that directory by right clicking while pressing the Shift key.

VBoxManage modifyvm "Name of VM" --vram 256

Now go to VM settings to check the VRam and try the guest OS.

Switch to Seamless mode for a better experience

VirtualBox box has another amazing feature to exploit you. It allows you to work on multiple Operating Systems without showing their separate desktops, you can work on different windows opened on your guest systems as if they’re the part of your host system only, this is called the seamless mode. If your guest OS supports the seamless mode you’ll be able to switch to it by pressing Host+L or navigating to View-> Seamless Mode


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