How Do I Improve Virtual Machine Performance?

Virtual machines are used to emulate operating systems (OS) and software, and provide testing environments, among other uses, so virtual machine performance is a major issue. Upgrading a computer’s hardware will improve the performance of the main computer and also will improve virtual machine performance. When a computer is used and files are constantly opened and interacted with, the disk becomes fragmented; defragmenting the disk can lead to a better system. Many virtual machine programs can be used in either full screen or partial screen, but full screen is the best for performance. If the OS allows it, disabling visual effects will improve speed.

Upgrading the computer’s hardware will both improve the computer and improve the virtual machine performance. While changing the monitor or mouse may slightly increase speed, the hardware users should focus on upgrading are the hard drive, random access memory (RAM) and central processing unit (CPU). These three pieces of hardware will increase speed and will allow the user to hold more data and files.

All hard drives become fragmented when they are used, because the file system becomes unable to sequentially file all the data properly. This means the hard drive’s read/write heads will go through data slower, and it will be more difficult to find the correct information; this all leads to poor virtual machine performance. To alleviate this, the user should perform defragmentation. Most operating systems come with a defragmentation program innately, but some do not, meaning the user will need to buy one.

With most virtual machine programs, users can decide to run the program in full screen, in partial screen, or as a small window. If the user decides to use partial screen, he or she will be able to switch between the virtual machine and the main computer very easily, just by clicking outside the virtual machine’s window; this also leads to increased resource use, though. With full screen, the computer can focus all resources on the virtual environment, thus increasing virtual machine performance.

Some OS programs enable users to disable visual effects, such as colors and icons, to increase performance. The CPU needs to use power to generate these effects, meaning the computer must hold back some resources for the graphics and icons. If the user disables these effects, most of those resources will be freed up for other applications and uses. The benefit from this is usually slight but, if the user needs every resource he or she can get, this will help.