Improving Virtual PC 6 Performance

I suppose it’s a bit late to point this out, but I have found a way to make Virtual PC 6 run faster.

Basically, if you set its priority really high (which means negative), then it gets more than its fair share of the CPU. If all you’re doing is Virtual PC, then this is probably useful. If you’re trying to do something else in addition to Virtual PC, then you probably don’t want to do this. Also, if Virtual PC crashes or has troubles (but when does Windows ever have problems?), it will be a little hard to shut it down because its priority is so high. In short: use this advice at your own risk.

Finding the right processes

Find the process you want to increase. I find it easiest at the command line. I just use:

ps auxw | grep Virt

There are usually 2 or 3 processes, and you’ll see them listed by process ID. Here’s some example output:

paco 582 78.0 9.9 176704 64828 ?? R 5:33PM 0:16.86 /Applications/Virtual PC 6/Contents/MacOS/Virtual PC 6 -psn_0_4849665
root 583 0.0 0.3 36616 1720 ?? S 5:33PM 0:00.03 VirtualPC_Services 14

Increasing Priority with renice

Only root can increase the priority of a process, so you’ll have to use the sudo command. In a terminal window, run:

sudo renice -15 582 583

where 582 and 583 are the two process IDs from our ps command.

Simplifying it

We can string the whole thing together into a single multi-stage command that will find the Virtual PC processes and renice them:

ps auxww | grep Virt | cut -c 8-12 | xargs sudo renice -15