Windows XP 3D acceleration with newer VirtualBox releases

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Windows XP 3D acceleration with newer VirtualBox releases

Postby birdie » 30. Jul 2022, 16:05

I tried installing VirtualBox 6.0.24 guest additions while running Windows XP under VirtualBox 6.1.36 however while the installer has seemingly finished without errors, dxdiag reports that 3D acceleration is not available :-(

Should I absolutely be running VirtualBox 6.0.24 to get 3D acceleration under Windows XP?

VirtualBox 6.0.24 guest additions are the last to support 3D acceleration in Windows XP and Vista.
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Re: Windows XP 3D acceleration with newer VirtualBox releases

Postby mpack » 30. Jul 2022, 16:23

Graphics acceleration needs to be provided by the host software (the simulated hardware) before it can be accessed using GA drivers.

I'm struggling to imagine why you think we would keep working XP 3D acceleration a secret. If something so simple was possible then somebody would be maintaining a forked version of the GAs to keep them to to date. They are open source after all.
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Re: Windows XP 3D acceleration with newer VirtualBox releases

Postby birdie » 30. Jul 2022, 17:47

mpack wrote:Graphics acceleration needs to be provided by the host software (the simulated hardware) before it can be accessed using GA drivers.

I'm struggling to imagine why you think we would keep working XP 3D acceleration a secret. If something so simple was possible then somebody would be maintaining a forked version of the GAs to keep them to to date. They are open source after all.


Maybe I remember it wrong but there have been cases when something in VBox worked despite not being advertised.

The most egregious example is that you can still have near perfect 2D support with any older VirtualBox additions in newer VirtualBox releases. At least with Windows guests.
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Re: Windows XP 3D acceleration with newer VirtualBox releases

Postby scottgus1 » 30. Jul 2022, 23:43

There used to be a separate 2D video support checkbox. But the devs decided to enable that permanently, so the old 2D box is gone now.

Pre-6.0 3D acceleration with the old-school VboxVGA video card had a security hole large enough to drive a truck through. So the devs came up with two new video cards: VboxSVGA (note the S) and VMSVGA. They also changed the 3D system. However they or their bosses decided to not provide 3D drivers in the Guest Additions for Vista or earlier guests.

6.0 kept the old 3D system and added the new. 6.1 has the new only. So if you need 3D in XP, you'll have to stay on 6.0.
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Re: Windows XP 3D acceleration with newer VirtualBox releases

Postby Leetmeymayk » 12. Aug 2022, 22:58

>There used to be a separate 2D video support checkbox. But the devs decided to enable that permanently, so the old 2D box is gone now.
>
> Pre-6.0 3D acceleration with the old-school VboxVGA video card had a security hole large enough to drive a truck through. So the devs came up with two new video cards: VboxSVGA (note the S) and VMSVGA.
> They also changed the 3D system. However they or their bosses decided to not provide 3D drivers in the Guest Additions for Vista or earlier guests.

This is decision I do not actually can begin to fathom.
1. It is not as if it was necessary to made any obligations, all what was needed was to make it work.
2. And only once, in case of out of support OS'ses nearly everyone stay at few specific versions, that stay will stay unchanged forever, and considering Vista similarities to Windows7 single actual version was needed to be made plus few small adjustments to it.
3. There is a limited scope of hardware features that needed to be supported as only things that were available around its time could be used anyway.
4. Its an easy way to greatly expand VirtualBox software compatibility range, as lets be honest, most users will gravitate into certain systems and Windows XP will gather people needing to use software developed in range of decade, two even - especially that old operating systems that do not suffer from virtualization performance issues, that are often tied to parameters of obscure system components that naturally increased overtime, and can be used at minimum native speed level, up to "ludicrous speed" in some scenarios. And no linux version from that period offer anything that would not be wildly available today.
5. Then its uses would include retrogaming, and a bunch of applications that become to network dependent to be used in any versions other than newest one and one designed for dinosaurs like Windows XP, which could possibly lead to relatively high popularity and improve familiarity with the VirtualBox software, and among people preference like this maybe more beneficial than in general population. Especially since nearly everyone has a Windows XP (due to longevity, popularity) Vista (lack of popularity = oversupply) license, or a few lying somewhere in their attic, and software itself was still "being sold" at that time rather than offered only as a service. Next option would be (VirtualBox supported) Windows 7 but many of its licenses are likely still in use (upgraded), not to mention some people still actually use it...
6. And one thing that irritate me specifically - dropping an easy boundary (few one time legacy entities) without securing the harder one (cutting edge issues are not unreasonable, cannot imagine something like this would be easy or cheap) - which leaves what? stable releases sufficiently lagging behind but still supported? what kind of uses could VM have in that range?

I do understand that software companies want to push forward to sell their products, but Oracle is one of the very few companies I could not see loosing on such arrangement - they competitors may, but isn't that a benefit?
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Re: Windows XP 3D acceleration with newer VirtualBox releases

Postby scottgus1 » 13. Aug 2022, 02:06

Leetmeymayk wrote:This is decision I do not actually can begin to fathom.

I have to agree with you; I was a bit surprised they didn't backport the new 3D system to XP level either. Vista I can understand skipping: 7 is what Vista should have been. But not XP.

However, the decisions made by the dev' bosses are driven by what most everyone else's decisions are driven by: who's got the cha-ching. Most likely most of Oracle's paying hypervisor customers don't use XP or Vista anymore on 3D-requiring applications. After all, XP went end-of-life in 2014, 7 just got retired in 2020, so it's quite likely many XP business-user paying folks had already upgraded to 7.

However, the above does not preclude someone else from writing a 3D-enabled Guest Additions for XP. User javispedro has written an Extension Pack and Guest Additions for DOS & Windows 3.1, so it can be done.

Leetmeymayk wrote:Then its uses would include retrogaming

Virtualbox was never hot on gaming, even when 3D worked in XP. No money in it, especially for old games. Another use case for the FOSS community.
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Re: Windows XP 3D acceleration with newer VirtualBox releases

Postby mpack » 13. Aug 2022, 12:05

Leetmeymayk wrote:5. Then its uses would include retrogaming

You do understand that paying customers are businesses right? Not gamers. And you do understand that software developers expect to be paid, right? Oracle isn't doing this for charity, or as a hobby.

I too am sorry to see full support for XP dropped. But I also know there is unlikely to be a business case to spend resources on it: businesses pay for VM support in order to keep things like old database apps running, 3D gaming simply isn't on their radar. 3D CAD by its nature keeps up with current display tech and is seldom run in a VM IME.
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