Video lag on Windows guest

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Video lag on Windows guest

Postby llamafilm » 30. Jul 2021, 20:53

Hello. I've just installed VirtualBox on a 2019 MacBook Pro, and installed a Windows 10 guest. Performance is very bad. Dragging windows around or clicking buttons takes about 1 full second to react. And sometimes when I type on the keyboard, each keypress enters about 5 copies of that letter. This makes it very hard to enter the password at the Windows login screen. I'm using VBoxSVGA. I've tried turning 3D acceleration off and on. I've tried 128 or 256MB video memory. The VM is set for 4GB RAM and 8 vCPUs (out of 16) with 100% cap. Any ideas what's wrong?

I've tried USB 1, 2, and 3 in hopes that might fix the keyboard issue.

2019 MacBook Pro, 2.3GHz 8 core i9, 16GB memory, Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB
Host OS: Big Sur 11.4
VirtualBox 6.1.26 with matching extension pack and guest additions

Another weird thing is the buttons in VirtualBox app are hard to read when selected, as shown in this screenshot. If I Cmd+Tab away so it loses focus then the word appears. Not sure if that's related.
Screen Shot 2021-07-30 at 11.44.59.png
Screen Shot 2021-07-30 at 11.44.59.png (119.49 KiB) Viewed 2394 times
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Re: Video lag on Windows guest

Postby fth0 » 30. Jul 2021, 21:39

The only known workaround for this lagging is to change /Applications/VirtualBox.app/Contents/Resources/VirtualBoxVM.app to Open in Low Resolution.
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Re: Video lag on Windows guest

Postby llamafilm » 30. Jul 2021, 22:45

Thanks for that tip. I tried setting the VirtualBoxVM app to low resolution but unfortunately it doesn't make a difference.
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Re: Video lag on Windows guest

Postby fth0 » 30. Jul 2021, 23:03

Use 2 vCPUs, which is recommend unless you can really utilize more. Please post a zipped VBox.log file of a complete VM run from Powered Off state to Powered Off state.
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Re: Video lag on Windows guest

Postby llamafilm » 30. Jul 2021, 23:48

Why 2 CPUs? I will be compiling code on this VM so I would expect that to slow it way down.
Here's a log with the CPUs set to 2. Thanks for looking into this!
On second thought, the low resolution setting does help a little. But it's still very laggy. I've used VirtualBox on older computers with better performance so I'm kind of familiar with how it's supposed to "feel". But this is the first time I try on this computer or on Big Sur.
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Re: Video lag on Windows guest

Postby fth0 » 31. Jul 2021, 14:17

fth0 wrote:Use 2 vCPUs, which is recommend unless you can really utilize more.

llamafilm wrote:Why 2 CPUs? I will be compiling code on this VM so I would expect that to slow it way down.

Well, I'd consider that a match. ;) The background reason for the general recommendation is that VirtualBox has to spend more effort for each unused vCPU than a physical PC has to spend for unused CPU cores.

llamafilm wrote:On second thought, the low resolution setting does help a little.

For a test, change the VM to the normal windowed mode and the resolution to 1024x768. The known lagging effects (on display, keyboard and mouse) depend on the number of pixels that VirtualBox has to handle. If you notify differences, also try with and without 3D Acceleration again.

In the VBox.log file, I didn't see any suspicious settings. It told me that you're using full-screen mode, though. :)

Regarding the VirtualBox Manager, I haven't read about the effects you've showed before. You could try and modify any display settings on the host. If such settings also influence the number of pixels VirtualBox has to handle in a VM ...
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Re: Video lag on Windows guest

Postby multiOS » 31. Jul 2021, 16:28

@llamafilm

One additional point. Looking back to your original post you said "The VM is set for 4GB RAM and 8 vCPUs (out of 16) with 100% cap. Any ideas what's wrong?

Your MacBook Pro CPU has 8 physical cores not 16, as that figure relates to so-called 'logical CPUs' (or Threads) which software has to be specifically designed to make full use of. - Check the Intel Specs if in doubt; and please don't be mislead by the rather confusing Red/Green CPU Zone graphic in VirtualBox Manager Settings. Technically you were making all of your physical CPU Cores to the VM, leaving nothing for the Host to work with; and probably creating a 'power battle' between the Host and Guest for CPU resources, which was bound to impact on performance. IME MacOS (as well as other 64-bit OSs) really need a minimum of 2 vCPUs (equivalent to a Dual Core Processor) to perform effectively; and only 'surplus' resources should be allocated to running VMs to get/maintain satisfactory performance of both Host and Guest. If the Host needs to continually compete for the resources it needs, that alone is going to impact on the performance of both Host and Guest.

Also, if your Windows 10 VM was a new installation, most new installations (including those on physical machines) take some time to settle down to a 'normal' performance level, i.e. up to 24 hours, while the OS checks and installs any required updates and initial internal file indexing action is completed. These activities alone can consume considerable CPU resource until all necessary action is completed. The actual time required is of course also influenced by what additional software is immediately installed and the volume of user data that is is held within the VM. Monitoring with the Windows Task Manager app can, of course, help with the identification those processes consuming significant resource.
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Re: Video lag on Windows guest

Postby llamafilm » 2. Aug 2021, 19:04

The Windows UI is so sluggish and glitchy that I haven't been able to even get to the display resolution setting to try 1024x768. But I set it somewhere near that by resizing the macOS window and it doesn't help. This screenshot shows the kind of UI glitch that's happening continuously every time I try to move any windows around. Windows Update is a possibility, it is still trying to install some things. I'll see if it gets better when that's finished. This is also the first time I use Windows build 21H1 in a VM. Maybe there's some sort of incompatibility there?
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Re: Video lag on Windows guest

Postby multiOS » 2. Aug 2021, 19:50

IME that sort of display glitch in Windows 10 (on a MacOS Host) usually occurs when 3D is enabled in VirtualBox VM Settings and Windows Transparency Effects are also enabled in Windows Settings. If you have 3D enabled, could you try disabling that feature when your VM is fully shut down and then reboot to see if there is any change in display.

I have the same model MacBook Pro and Windows 10 (20H1) has worked O.K. for me, so there shouldn't be a major compatibility problem, but there might well be a settings 'conflict'. issue My settings are VirtualBox 3D 'Off' and Windows Transparency Effects 'On' and my Windows 10 display is fine. '3D' 'on with Transparency Effects 'Off' might also work, but haven't checked as i don't need '3D' in Windows.
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Re: Video lag on Windows guest

Postby fth0 » 3. Aug 2021, 01:46

llamafilm wrote:This is also the first time I use Windows build 21H1 in a VM. Maybe there's some sort of incompatibility there?

FWIW, Windows 10 21H1 works for me without any problems inside VirtualBox 6.1.26 on macOS 10.13.6, Windows 10 21H1 and Linux Mint 20 hosts.

Regarding 3D Acceleration and Transparency Effects, I second what multiOS wrote. See Windows 10 2004 Transparency Effects for the two places to find the setting.
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Re: Video lag on Windows guest

Postby llamafilm » 3. Aug 2021, 02:25

Alright this is now working much better after disabling 3D. Thanks! I could have sworn I tried that, but maybe it had something to do with order of operations or Windows Update. The Windows guest still feels a bit sluggish compared to my other machine (2015 MacBook Pro) but it's usable now at least.
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