I am having a hard time coming up with decent performing settings to run my Win7 64-bit VirtualBox VM on my brand new Macbook pro. I've given it 2G memory (out of my 8G total), tried what feels like all combinations of motherboard and processor settings, and yet this VM still runs as slow as a dog. I've been googling all over and trying what I've found, but most of the recommendations do not seem to come from someone actually running a Win7 VirtualBox VM on a MBP. Does anyone have a combination of settings that actually is being used and works well? Does 32-bit Win7 work better maybe?

Specifics: I have a brand new Macbook Pro w/ OSX 10.6.7, 2Ghz Intel quad core, 8G Memory, 500G hard drive, 15" model. VirtualBox is 4.0.6. Windows 7 Professional.

  • How about the specifics of the virtual box configuration for the windows 7 VM? Also, have you tried looking to see if Windows 7 is consuming a lot of CPU? – Bandit May 21 '11 at 22:27

Well, I don't know what I did wrong to begin with, but I deleted the VM and started over with 100% defaults except that I set memory to 2G, harddrive to 60G, and 32MB video memory. Now it's working great, feels as fast as any other Win7 machine I've tried.

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  • Increasing the video memory from 16MB (default) to 32MB did the trick for me, even at 2G for memory. Thanks for posting. – user127685 Apr 11 '12 at 5:47
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    in my case, what work was I disabled Nested Paging and then enabled the I/O APIC – fedmich Jan 29 '15 at 1:43
  • Disabling Nested Paging (and to a greater extent) enabling PAE/NX improved things significantly for me (host system 2012 Mac Mini) – William Turrell Mar 17 '16 at 14:42
  • The current version of VirtualBox (2016-09-04) suggests at least 48 Mb Video Memory for Windows 7. Is it likely necessary to go beyond this, or is 48 Mb enough? – Winterflags Sep 4 '16 at 13:18

Try giving Windows 7 only one processor. I've heard that multiple processors under Virtual Box can sometimes cause problems.

Also, more details of your exact configuration would help tremendously in trying to find out what is going wrong.

  • VirtualBox appears to default to one processor, and that is what I am trying currently. – jlarson May 21 '11 at 19:39

I'm running the exact same MacBook Pro except for the HD (I upgraded to an SSD). I've tried Parallels, VirtualBox and VMWare Fusion and I get the best performance out of VMWare Fusion.

One thing I noticed that seemed to be true on all 3 systems was the VM Machine needs a lot of RAM to perform. I give my Win 7 64bit OS 6G.

Also make sure you have enabled hardware virtualization. See additional info below:

From the VirtualBox Manual on setting up a 64 bit Guest OS

64-bit guests

VirtualBox supports 64-bit guest operating systems, even on 32-bit host operating systems,[10] provided that the following conditions are met:

You need a 64-bit processor with hardware virtualization support (see the section called “Hardware vs. software virtualization”).

You must enable hardware virtualization for the particular VM for which you want 64-bit support; software virtualization is not supported for 64-bit VMs.

If you want to use 64-bit guest support on a 32-bit host operating system, you must also select a 64-bit operating system for the particular VM. Since supporting 64 bits on 32-bit hosts incurs additional overhead, VirtualBox only enables this support upon explicit request.

On 64-bit hosts (which typically come with hardware virtualization support), 64-bit guest operating systems are always supported regardless of settings, so you can simply install a 64-bit operating system in the guest.

Warning On any host, you should enable the I/O APIC for virtual machines that you intend to use in 64-bit mode. This is especially true for 64-bit Windows VMs. See the section called “"Advanced" tab”.

In addition, for 64-bit Windows guests, you should make sure that the VM uses the Intel networking device, since there is no 64-bit driver support for the AMD PCNet card; see the section called “Virtual networking hardware”. If you use the "Create VM" wizard of the VirtualBox graphical user interface (see the section called “Creating your first virtual machine”), VirtualBox will automatically use the correct settings for each selected 64-bit operating system type.

  • This setting is now under Performance > Motherboard. – Merchako Aug 21 '17 at 14:32

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