I know many of you have asked me to post Virtual PC Tips and Tricks.  Here are some of my suggestions for the host, in additional posts I will show tips for guest, resumable state…etc.  Thanks to Kevin Remde and Keith Combs  in compiling these.   A majority of these tips will also work for Virtual Server as well.  Although this post is geared for Virtual PC users.  Please let me know what you think, and please comment! 

Host

  1. Separate your vmc’s and vhd’s on separate physical drives:
    1. Make sure your configuration .VMCs (and therefore your undo .VUDs and saved state .VSVs) are on the faster drive – even if that drive is an external USB 2.0 connected drive. 
    2. Keep your Virtual Hard Disk .VHDs on a separate physical drive (the slower one or the internal one, if you don’t have all 7200 RPM drives).   Then place your .vmc on the faster drive, this is where the undo file and saved state file are created and modified.
  2. Launch Virtual PC 2004 with the –usehostdiskcache option.  (That seems to speed things up a bit for me.)
  3. Make sure you’ve configured Virtual PC to maximize host CPU use for Virtual Machines. 
    1. Virtual PC Console / File menu / Options/Performance section

                                                              i.      CPU Time: “All running virtual machines get equal CPU time”,

                                                            ii.      When Virtual PC is running in the background: “Run Virtual PC at maximum speed”

  1. Set the processor scheduling option to "Programs"
    1. System Properties / Advanced tab / Performance Settings button / Advanced tab. Be sure to verify that the host is not running critical services, as changing this option to "Programs" will cause performance of background services to suffer.
  2. Enable hardware video acceleration test this, as it helps on some systems but may actually reduce guest performance on other systems
  3. Start VPCs One at a Time.
  4. Super-Geek Tip (Need More Hardware!)
    Create a RAM Disk large enough to accommodate the VHD image file (plus additional space for expansion) and assign a drive letter to it. Copy the virtual machine to this location and run the image from the RAM Disk drive.  Blisteringly fast but you need 5-10 gigs of RAM.