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:
- The more memory you can assign to the virtual machine – the better. Though make sure you leave enough memory for the host operating system.
- Install the Virtual Machine Additions that come with Virtual Server 2005 R2 – these make a world of difference.
- Turn off most of the advanced video animation. You can do this by going to:
- ‘Start menu’
- –> right click ‘Computer’
- –> ‘Properties’
- –> ‘Advanced System Settings’
- –> hit the ‘Settings’ button under the ‘Performance’ section
- –> 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’
- 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)
- Stop explorer from searching the network at odd times by going to:
- ‘Start menu’
- –> left click ‘Computer’
- –> select the ‘Tools’ menu
- –> ‘Folder Options’
- –> select the ‘View’ tab
- –> Uncheck ‘Automatically search for network printers’
- 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.