Performance of Win10x64 (guest) on Mac OS Mojave (10.14.4) very poor

Discussions related to using VirtualBox on Mac OS X hosts.

Performance of Win10x64 (guest) on Mac OS Mojave (10.14.4) very poor

Postby RiccardoCappuccino » 14. May 2019, 17:50


I want to run Windows 10x64 Professional as guest on a Mac OS Mojave host. Well, it does run, but the performance is very low and Virtualbox rises to 200% and more CPU usage in Mac OS activity monitor, although the guest is idle. According to the guests windows task manager cpu load is low. I searched the forum and tried various steps from other posts I found here. But first the exact specs of the host machine.

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro14,2
Processor Name: Intel Core i5
Processor Speed: 3,3 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 2
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 4 MB
Memory: 16 GB
OS: Mac OS Mojave (10.14.4)

What I tried/did already:
  • enabled 2D/3D acceleration
  • made sure that guest does not use up all CPU cores (according to system info I only have 1 processor with 2 cores, so I set Virtualbox to only use 1 core
  • made sure that Virtualbox not uses up all RAM, I set it to 3072MB of my 16GB total
  • installed the VirtualBox Guest Additions
  • installed the VirtualBox Guest Additions Expansion Pack
  • set video memory to 256MB

I looked at the official user guide but I did not find anything which helped me with this specific issue. I did not read it start to finish though to be frank.

I have attached a logfile which covers the following:
- startup VM
- login into guest OS
- wait for the host CPU usage rises to more than 100%
- shutdown the guest OS

Any help is highly appreciated. I'm new to the virtualization game and don't really understand all the possible settings yet, so I might have made a mistake with one or more of them.

Another issue with the guest is, that I have weird graphical glitches, like windows are not drawn completely, with huge black or white areas where normal windows content should be, but I will make a separate post for this.

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Re: Performance of Win10x64 (guest) on Mac OS Mojave (10.14.4) very poor

Postby mpack » 14. May 2019, 17:59

IMHO it's a fact of life, especially with a new install, that Win10 performance with a single core is going to be terrible. It's doing a lot of background indexing, update checking and background downloads, particularly after a fresh install, so even on a physical PC it would be lagging a lot if you only have one core. It would help if you identified features you don't need (such as Cortana and disk indexing) and eliminate them. Back when I had a dual core host this allowed me to have acceptable performance from a Win10 guest.

As you say, you have a dual core host so you don't really have any good options. Personally I'd go with the option of giving the guest 2 cores, knowing that this opens the possibility of contention between the two.
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Re: Performance of Win10x64 (guest) on Mac OS Mojave (10.14.4) very poor

Postby RiccardoCappuccino » 16. May 2019, 08:35

Hi mpack,

thanks for your answer. I will try to disable cortana, although I did not find an option in Win10 settings, but that's another issue. Also I'll try with 2 cores ... You were right regarding a fresh install. After letting it run for a bit, the host cpu usage went down a bit. But not much.

As for the graphics glitches, I could mostly fix those by disabling 3D acceleration, but sadly not all of them.

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