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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips Apps
I run a design team with 15 iMacs that all have VirtualPC to run Access. While VPC is never going to be blazingly quick, I have picked up a few tricks that might make life easier! For speed concerns:
  • Turn off your sound
  • Increase your RAM
  • Set your CPU usage to max in the foreground and min in the background
  • When initally setting up VPC, make the hard drive sizes 'hard' (a fixed size, mine are 4 gig) rather than a soft one that fluctuates in size. Otherwise, VPC will spend half its time calculating the size of an ever changing drive size.
  • Disable the VPCRCN.exe (I think that's right), which allows you to copy from your PC desktop to your Macs (use shared files instead). You will find it in Control Panels -> Administrator Tools -> Add/remove Components.
  • Defrag your drive on a regular basis.
We have also found that if our network connection was cut whilst someone was in VPC, VPC would get itself into a situation where you could not log in and you would have to install Windows and all your apps again (which could take a good few hours to do). The solution I found today was to litterally replace the 4 gig Wndows drive file with that from another machine, and then relink the shortcuts (which takes a few minutes!). This gets you back up and running again much more quickly.

Also it would be good to hear if anyone else has any further suggestions, or if it is quicker using an old PC with Microsoft's Remote Desktop.
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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: aboswell on Jan 29, '04 12:39:58PM

I have both VPC running XP Pro and a PC running XP Pro. I can tell you the Remote Desktop is MUCH faster, and with the newer version, you can run it at full screen. The only problem I have encountered with RDC is that it won't share the USB printer attached to my Mac. Something about Terminal Services on the PC not accepting USB or somesuch. Anyway, my 2 cents...

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: grrr223 on Jan 29, '04 08:57:03PM

I agree, using Terminal Server through VPC is a lot faster than running programs natively on VPC because all that your mac is doing is displaying graphics instead of emulating an operating system.

The mac native version of remote desktop is great, but I need virtual PC to log into my company's firewall. I'm actually amazed at how well it all works really.

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: jreades on Jan 29, '04 12:53:06PM

Depending on how you use your VPC setup, I've been quite happy with the non-reinstallation benefits of setting preferences to have VPC confirm changes to the disk image when it quits. That way, if your network connection gets hosed and you have reboot (the usual scenario, in my experience) the original disk image *should* be fine since none of the changes were written to the image. That said, I frequently do a simple copy of the image as a backup.

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: Iowa Boy on Jan 29, '04 01:11:23PM

Just use your Mac with Microsoft Remote Desktop. They have a version for OS X and it works great now. (A couple of the early versions crashed constantly, but the latest one has been solid for me.)

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: nvdingo on Jan 29, '04 02:39:10PM

and how does that help a group with no real PCs at all?

the hint describes a set that doesn't seem to include a real PC anywhere. So wouldn't Remote Desktop do nothing for them?

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: mmulhern on Jan 29, '04 03:16:40PM

The original entry asked for a comparison, so everyone else did.

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MRD is faster
Authored by: mmulhern on Jan 29, '04 03:22:56PM

MRD is definately faster, but VPC allows multiple x86 machines.

I also keep plain WinOS images that I duplicate to allow me to install and evaluate software, and to create specific mixes of software and drivers to test their interaction.

Also, VPC allows me to take my WinOSs anywhere on my TiBook800.



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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: balthisar on Jan 29, '04 03:37:24PM

I use both VPC6.1 as well as an older version of Microsoft's Remote Desktop (never thought to upgrade it, but it doesn't give me problems. I'm interested in the full-screen you all mentioned, though).

Of course Remote Desktop is faster -- you're running the real PC at full speed, and you see the screen image in near real time. I've never tried any type of FPS games, though, and don't expect it'd work very well. The only real problem I have is I remote into the real PC box using "faster" settings, and then they stick when I physically log into the real PC box. Oh well.

VPC is great for the PowerBook, which isn't always near the real PC to connect into it. Also, when the wife is on the real PC, and I need to use a PC-only program, it's good to be able to fire up the virtual PC.

As cheap as commodity PCs are these days, it's almost cheaper just to buy a PC box and remote into it.

Oh, I forgot to mention -- I also have Linux (Suse 8.2) installed on the PC. It's kind of nifty doing a remote X session on the Mac to the PC.

--Jim (me)

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: splattertrousers on Jan 29, '04 08:37:04PM

I had 768 MB of RAM in my Mac and when I ran VPC, MenuMeters' memory menu made it seem like I had tons of free RAM. But VPC sure was slow. I added another 512 MB of RAM and VPC became much much faster. ( says that 512 MB of brand-name PC2700 DDR only costs $85 shipped. IMO, it's definitely worth $85 to seriously speed up VPC.)

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: Krazy on Jan 29, '04 11:18:01PM

There are a number of other things that you can do to help VPC performance:
. kill unnecessary windows 'processes'
. use renice to change VPC's priority
. consider turning off Windows Virtual Memory [though office or other apps might choose not work eg Access]

Check out for more suggestions for VPC.

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: Silverado on Mar 09, '04 01:03:18PM

I would like to know how much adding RAM really helps VPC. Also, is part of the problem Mac OSX's screen redraw anyway?

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: sethd on Mar 09, '04 01:33:30PM

I don't see why having a fixed "hard drive" size would mean a performance gain. It seems that the hard drive jumps up to a fixed size when the PC is started up and then it reshrinks as the PC is shut down. Are there calculations being done on the virtual drive size as the PC is active?

On another note, I think the most important speed tip is the choice of what version of Windows to use. Windows XP is the absolute slowest of my virtual PCs. Many say that Windows 2000 is the speediest, and I've had ok experience with that. For some apps, Windows 95 has been very fast -- or apps haven't worked at all. Running Windows 95 means 100% CPU utilization of your mac, however. Windows 2000 doesn't use all of your mac's cpu unless it is doing something. Windows 2000 looks to be the best over all choice in this regard, but experimenting with Windows 95 might work for your purposes.

All this discussion makes me hope Darwine takes off.

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Mar 10, '04 02:10:25AM

What about Windows 98?

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: cynikal on Jul 18, '04 01:45:32PM

or what about windows nt 4.. that was blazing fast too.. faster than win2k and probably the fastest windows (maybe even 95)

the problem i've had with it was no usb support, and i needed that once in a while.. (to sync my pocketpc, and yes i have heard of pocketmac but when it comes to installing programs, activesync owns all sadly)

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A collection of VirtualPC speed tips
Authored by: sethd on Sep 26, '05 12:38:43PM

I hadn't tried it out before, but I agree that Windows NT 4 is the fastest OS under VPC 6.

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New Hint
Authored by: photek on May 31, '04 03:32:46PM

Hi All, I am back with another hint for VPC. Sorry If you all Know this one.....BUT...... if you control click on the windoze desktop and go to prefs a dialogue box appears, click on 'effects' and turn everything off. It will make VPC run better and it look less like lego.

Also for what it is worth, I have a few Macs (Powerbook 1.5ghz with 768 ram) running WinXP and it is vastly more processor hungry than win2000! Even with all the speed up tips.

Finally do a search on Google for MacOsx emulators for Windoze Users, a few are being developed!!

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New Hint
Authored by: gadget007 on Jun 17, '04 11:20:06AM

I am TRYING to use a PCMCIA card on my Powerbook but in VPC 6.1.1 - but cant get Windows to pick it up? Any suggestions?

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