Last resort for performance issues with Virtual PC on laptops

Last resort for performance issues with Virtual PC on laptops

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In the past I have posted about options for improving performance of Virtual PC on laptops, and about using SpeedSwitchXP.  Furthermore, with Virtual PC 2007 we have worked hard to address many of these issues.  Unfortunately, there are still laptops where Virtual PC does not run well.  The root cause of these problems is that these laptops are stopping system timers when entering low power modes.

Well, with Virtual PC 2007 there is one last option to consider:

  1. Stop running Virtual PC
  2. Open notepad
  3. Open %appdata%\Microsoft\Virtual PC\options.xml
  4. Locate the <virtual_machines> section of the file and add this key:
    <enable_idle_thread type="boolean">true</enable_idle_thread>
  5. Save the file and exit notepad
  6. Start Virtual PC

Now when you start a virtual machine under Virtual PC, Virtual PC will fully utilize the processor in order to stop the laptop from entering a low power state.  The upside of this is that you should see no performance issues.  The downside is that it will drain your battery power much faster than normal.  As such - you should only use this option after you have tried all other possible solutions.

Cheers,
Ben

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  • Hmm, that's interesting, my file doesn't have a <virtual_machines> area ... here's what my Options.xml looks like.  I am running Vista Ultimate on a d620.

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-16"?>

    <!-- Microsoft Virtual Machine Options and Settings -->

    <preferences>

    <version type="string">2.0</version>

    <properties>

    <modifier>

    <build type="string">6.0.156.0</build>

    <name type="string">Microsoft Virtual PC 2007</name>

    </modifier>

    </properties>

    <virtual_gateway id="0">

    <id type="integer">0</id>

    <type type="integer">0</type>

    </virtual_gateway>

    <virtual_gateway id="1">

    <adapter type="string">\DosDevices\VPCNetS2_{71E99B66-E8F7-49A9-A271-43773BE2C85C}</adapter>

    <id type="integer">16</id>

    <name type="string">Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection - Deterministic Network Enhancer Miniport</name>

    <type type="integer">2</type>

    </virtual_gateway>

    <virtual_gateway>

    <next>

    <virtual_gateway_id type="integer">18</virtual_gateway_id>

    </next>

    </virtual_gateway>

    <virtual_gateway id="2">

    <adapter type="string">\DosDevices\VPCNetS2_{4AC194FF-CBFB-4204-B9AD-73F6003AE2A4}</adapter>

    <id type="integer">17</id>

    <name type="string">Broadcom NetXtreme 57xx Gigabit Controller - Deterministic Network Enhancer Miniport</name>

    <type type="integer">2</type>

    </virtual_gateway>

    <virtual_network id="0">

    <gateway type="integer">0</gateway>

    <id type="bytes">2D4F07DAD71111DB830B9850A3BB8985</id>

    <name type="string">Local only</name>

    <notes type="string">This is the local only virtual network. Virtual machines connected to this virtual network can only communicate with other virtual machines on this network.</notes>

    </virtual_network>

    <virtual_network id="1">

    <gateway type="integer">16</gateway>

    <id type="bytes">2D4F07DBD71111DB830B9850A3BB8985</id>

    <name type="string">Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection - Deterministic Network Enhancer Miniport</name>

    <notes type="string">This is an external virtual network. Virtual NICs attached to this virtual network can access external networks through the "Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection - Deterministic Network Enhancer Miniport" host network adapter.</notes>

    </virtual_network>

    <virtual_network id="2">

    <gateway type="integer">17</gateway>

    <id type="bytes">2D4F07DCD71111DB830B9850A3BB8985</id>

    <name type="string">Broadcom NetXtreme 57xx Gigabit Controller - Deterministic Network Enhancer Miniport</name>

    <notes type="string">This is an external virtual network. Virtual NICs attached to this virtual network can access external networks through the "Broadcom NetXtreme 57xx Gigabit Controller - Deterministic Network Enhancer Miniport" host network adapter.</notes>

    </virtual_network>

    <window>

    <console>

    <height type="integer">256</height>

    <left_position type="integer">20</left_position>

    <top_position type="integer">20</top_position>

    <visible type="boolean">true</visible>

    <width type="integer">367</width>

    </console>

    <new_pc>

    <left_position type="integer">469</left_position>

    <top_position type="integer">257</top_position>

    </new_pc>

    <virtual_disk_wizard>

    <left_position type="integer">469</left_position>

    <top_position type="integer">257</top_position>

    </virtual_disk_wizard>

    </window>

    </preferences>

  • Strange -

    You should be able to make a new node by entering in:

    <virtual_machines>

    <enable_idle_thread type="boolean">true</enable_idle_thread>

    </virtual_machines>

    It should be on the same level as the </virtual_network> node (just put it after the last </virtual_network> in the file).

    Cheers,

    Ben

  • Hi, I had HyperV and VPC 2007 installed and when I ran VPC, the performance was awful. If you disable the Hardware Virtualization option from the BIOS, VPC runs super. So if you just wanna use VPC, then switch the Hardware virtualization off and switch it on when you want to enter HyperV mode.

  • Hi Ben

    Trying out your enable idle thread, but think my problem may be of a different sort.

    I have used both Virtual PC 2007 and Windows Virtual PC and found that in order to obtain accurate timer use (VB) I need to enable the All Running CPU get equal CPU time under Virtual PC 2007...Otherwise my reaqdings were off by as much as 20%. Haven't been able to find this option with Windows Virtual PC, and was wondering if you might have access to a similar setting for this Options.xml file to enable that setting.

    Note: I have run it on 2 independant machines, no load, multi processor (2000 line VB Program) and this is definately the root problem. Just need to find out how to enable the option.....and if it still exists....

  • i have a problem with my power on my toshiba labtop m35x-s114 sometimes it run fine then sometime it shuts down all the way!!

  • What exactly are those 'other possible solutions'?

    Btw. the fix worked for me flawlessly. Thanks.

  • thats it the problem the power on my laptop

    thanks a llot

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