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Re: virtualbox just became slow

On 08/11/11 23:54, Steve Kleene wrote:
> I've been happily running a virtualbox Windows XP machine (VM) on a Wheezy
> host for eight months.  However, the VM just became pathologically slow.  For
> example, if I boot the VM, call Photoshop 6, and open a small JPG, it all
> works but takes several minutes.  During much of this time the XP Task
> Manager pins at 100% CPU usage, 

What process?

> and the host's cooling fans are revving hard.
> If I then ask to print the JPG, Photoshop (eventually) declares "There is not
> enough memory for this operation".  When the VM is idle, it shows about 5%
> CPU usage and I see no unexpected memory hogs running.  The Debian host runs
> fine.
> This disease roughly coincides with my upgrade from virtualbox 4.1.2 to
> 4.1.4, including the guest additions and extension pack.  So I uninstalled
> 4.1.4 and put back 4.1.2 from snapshot.debian.org, together with its guest
> additions and extension pack.  I also put back a copy of the VM (xpvm.vdi)
> and home vbox directories that I had saved on June 18th when everything was
> fine.  (I saved these as Linux files, not as a snapshot.  I have successfully
> started from them before).

Next time consider:-
$ VBoxManage clonevm

>  Finally I rebooted the host too.  None of this
> solved the problem.
> The host is a  Pentium 4 3.0 GHz with 2 GB of memory.  The VM has the
> recommended 192 MB of memory.  This all worked fine until I ran apt-get
> upgrade (including virtualbox) four days ago.  I have a newer Wheezy machine
> (i5 3.2 GHz + 4 GB) that is running about the same VM (also 192 MB) under
> virtualbox 4.1.4 with no problem.
> Any ideas how to identify the source of this slowness?  Thanks.

Debian/VirtualBox - check dmesg[*1] and VirtualBox log for relevant
messages. The VirtualBox log is accessible via the GUI Manager =>
Machine => Show Log. You don't say what sort of VirtualBox disk system
you use.

Windoof - how much free space does your virtual drive have, when did you
last defrag, what filesystem, how big is the Windoof swap, have you put
a sniffer on the virtual NIC, what does Windoof show as chewing the most

I run a number of Windoof XP Pro SP3+ VirtualBox machines with NTFS
using fixed size vmdk virtualdrives. 128MB video, 960MB RAM, PAE/NX,
non-free (Oracle) VirtualBox, Squeeze hosts. I regularly degrag their
drives, and delete the Windoof swap files every month[*2]. They run
quickly - *but are rarely allowed access to the internet*.

One suggestion is to export (as an appliance) one of the slow
VirtualMachines from your slow host and import it into your faster host
- then compare apples with apples. I'd also suggest you temporarily
disable the virtual NIC to rule out Windoof network activity as the problem.

[*1] you can ignore:-
warning: `VirtualBox' uses 32-bit capabilities (legacy support in use)
[*2] otherwise they grow until upgrading seems like a good idea


Iceweasel/Firefox extensions for finding answers to Debian questions:-

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