Optimizing Windows Vista under Virtual PC

Optimizing Windows Vista under Virtual PC

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As I have been running builds of Windows Vista inside of virtual machines for a while now - I thought I would pass along some guidance I have for getting the best performance possible.  Below are a couple of steps I advise taking:

  1. The more memory you can assign to the virtual machine - the better.  Though make sure you leave enough memory for the host operating system.

  2. Install the Virtual Machine Additions that come with Virtual Server 2005 R2 - these make a world of difference.

  3. Turn off most of the advanced video animation.  You can do this by going to:
    1. 'Start menu'
    2. --> right click 'Computer'
    3. --> 'Properties'
    4. --> 'Advanced System Settings'
    5. --> hit the 'Settings' button under the 'Performance' section
    6. --> Uncheck everything except 'Smooth edges of screen fonts', 'Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop' and 'Use visual styles on windows and buttons' and then hit 'OK'

  4. While you have the Advanced System Settings open - go to the 'System Protection' tab and disable this feature (you can use undo disks to get the same level of protection)

  5. Stop explorer from searching the network at odd times by going to:
    1. 'Start menu'
    2. --> left click 'Computer'
    3. --> select the 'Tools' menu
    4. --> 'Folder Options'
    5. --> select the 'View' tab
    6. --> Uncheck 'Automatically search for network printers'

  6. Finally - if you are using Virtual Server - do not use a desktop background

With all of these changes I have found Vista to be quite snappy inside of a virtual machine.  In fact I have taken to running Visual Studio 2005 in a virtual machine to allow me to do quick UI mockups with the Vista 2D theme.



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  • Please add 6 and 3 and type the answer here:
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  • Why should I use that when I can use VMWare as it is FREE
  • Ben,

    Slightly off-topic but do the Machine Additions that come with Virtual Server 2005 R2 make any significance difference to other non-Vista OS Virtual PCs or should I continue to use the ones that ship with VirtualPC 2004 SP1 for XP VPCs?
  • Simon -

    No - just Vista.

  • on VPC, it emulates all that average hardware, will i still get Aero Glass on build 5342 or will i get Aero Basic? And thanks for the optimization tips, that should help a lot...
  • Ravi -

    You will just get Aero Basic - but you may want to checkout http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2006/02/28/540822.aspx for information about getting Glass (kind of) under Virtual PC.

  • You must turn off the indexing for the C: drive to get the CPU from 100% to 17%.  Click on Start -> Computers.  Left click on the C:Drive and click Properties.  Uncheck indexing at the bottom of the dialog.
  • use <a href="http://www.yaodownload.com/utilites/optimizers-diagnostics/pc-tweaker/">PC">http://www.yaodownload.com/utilites/optimizers-diagnostics/pc-tweaker/">PC Tweaker</a> to optimize your pc maximum.


  • I keep getting error code for dell system every few minutes. Did windows update now system has stopped updates until I insert driver disk that I no longer have.  What can I do to fix problem?

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