Frequent freezes in display output since 6.0 (#18957)

Discussions about using Windows guests in VirtualBox.

Re: Frequent freezes in display output since 6.0

Postby cremor » 24. Sep 2019, 13:37

zakimirza88 wrote:I'm experiencing the same problem.
The VM freezes entirely with even the mouse pointer not visible.

This is not the same problem that I have. I can use the guest, it just freezes for a split second every few seconds.
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Re: Frequent freezes in display output since 6.0

Postby fckgw » 1. Jan 2020, 16:57

Hi folks,

I've been experiencing the same symptoms for months, on multiple host machines of differing spec, and seem to have a found a solution for my issue.

tldr Disabling audio on the virtual machine configuration, or changing the audio controller from ICH AC97 to Intel HD Audio seems to completely solve the issue consistently for me.


My symptoms

Essentially, with a Windows 10 host, any time I run a non-headless VM (any guest OS) I experience stutters in either input processing or graphics output on the host. For example, if the VM window is in the background and my browser and mail client are in the foreground, when I alt-tab between them the window switcher overlay freezes for a second. Or if I type an address into the browser (or any text, anywhere, really) I have to wait for a second or two for the cursor to catch up. It makes the host *and* guest virtually unusable.

If I run the VM in headless mode, I don't get this issue. However that's only useful for pre-prepared machines as I can't get through the installation process when setting up a new one.


Observations

I noticed that the Windows Audio Device Graph Isolation process was using 3%+ CPU constantly, a few seconds after starting the guest OS boot. This was even the case on a text-mode Linux guest with no audio playing (on either the guest or the host). As soon as I killed the VM, that process returned to 0% CPU. Whenever I play audio on the host, the process jumps back to around 3% CPU but doesn't cause any stuttering or input lag, leading me to believe that the issue is in VirtualBox's audio subsystem (rather than the Windows audio driver or Audio Device Graph Isolation process).


The solution

Disabling audio on the virtual machine configuration, or changing the audio controller from ICH AC97 to Intel HD Audio seems to completely remedy the symptoms.
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Re: Frequent freezes in display output since 6.0 (#18957)

Postby scottgus1 » 1. Jan 2020, 17:15

@fckgw, thanks for letting us know what works for you. I haven't run into guest display freezes in my 6.0.14 host, but I'll try this if I do get the freezes.

fckgw wrote:If I run the VM in headless mode, I don't get this issue. However that's only useful for pre-prepared machines as I can't get through the installation process when setting up a new one.

Running a guest headless temporarily disables 3D acceleration. Maybe 3D is the issue with the freezing, or a conflict between 3D and audio. I don't typically run guests with 3D on, so that may explain why I don't get the freezes.

FWIW running a guest 'headless' isn't a real 'headless' environment. The guest OS still has a video card. (True headless is caused by running wit the 'None' choice in the guest's Display Graphics Controller settings.) With any of the other video cards, and the guest running 'headless' or 'detachable', the guest runs with no 3D acceleration, and you can choose to have the guest window show or not. When running 'headless' you can use the guest's Virtualbox RDP server to see the guest window via a MS-RDP-compatible client viewer. Virtualbox RDP shows from the 'BIOS' screen onwards, and you can view the Installation of guest OSs over the RDP client.
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Re: Frequent freezes in display output since 6.0

Postby cremor » 13. Jan 2020, 09:00

fckgw wrote:tldr Disabling audio on the virtual machine configuration, or changing the audio controller from ICH AC97 to Intel HD Audio seems to completely solve the issue consistently for me.

Sadly that doesn't work for me. I've always used Intel HD Audio.
But I will try disabling audio completely. And I'll also try version 6.1.
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Re: Frequent freezes in display output since 6.0 (#18957)

Postby cremor » 29. Jan 2020, 10:03

VirtualBox 6.1.2 still has the same problem.

Another user also posted a comment to the ticket saying that a Linux guest shows the same problem. So it seems like that it isn't Windows specific after all (at least not for the guest - it might still be specific to Windows hosts).
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Re: Frequent freezes in display output since 6.0 (#18957)

Postby PhillipRC » 6. Feb 2020, 01:23

Also freezing frequently since update from 5 to 6.1
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Re: Frequent freezes in display output since 6.0 (#18957)

Postby ucrasher » 20. Feb 2020, 18:51

Hi,
try to turn off transparency effects in Win10.
This helped to fix my freeze issues.
Thanks, ucrasher.
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