All Macs In-Depth Tests

Tricks To Speed Up VPC Performance


| Tip To Boost Performance Of Softwindows |

Letter to MacPCI-L, November 10, 1997.
(authorship of letter in dispute could be Salman Saeed or could be Shane Anderson)

    If you need to REALLY run Windows 95 at it's fastest on your Mac, do this with VPC:

    On another partition create a bare bones System (sorry, without another partition, this will not work), remove EVERY extension except the Appearance extension, and every control panel except the Appearance control panel. Then move the VPC preference file into the new System's preference folder. Also move the VirtualPC app itself into the System folder. Remove the Finder from the System, throw it in the trash and delete it. Use ResEdit to change the VPC app's 'creator' code to MACS and 'type' to FNDR. Then rename VirtualPC to Finder. Then reboot holding down "Shift-Option-Command-Delete", this will force your Mac to boot from a System other than your startup disk. DO NOT CHANGE THE STARTUP DISK IN THE STARTUP DISK CONTROL PANEL! If you do, it will be murder trying to get it to boot back to MacOS.

    Now what you have is Windows 95 booting instead of MacOS, and the performance increase is more than double! Alas, you will not be able to use the MacOS while you are running VPC like this, but you WILL still be able to share ANY Mac folder!, but if you NEED to use Win95, this is the best way to do it! Now to get back to the MacOS, just quite VPC as normal, saving it where you left off, and then once it has saved the data to the disc, you just force-restart "Control-Command-PowerKey", and your Mac will safely boot back to MacOS.

    BTW, all networking is STILL available from the PC using it this way, it's great!

Or More Simply

    Devin Durham says he found a neater way to boost Virtual PC performance after reading about Salman Saeed's trick of disabling Mac OS functions to reduce overhead:

    "Well, I wrote a very simple applescript that sends a QUIT to the finder as VPC boots. I experimented with your described method, and really didnt notice any difference in speed between my method and the described one... Except that I dont have to create a custom partition, I dont have to force my mac to startup off a different drive, and when I quit VPC, the finder boots right back up and I am back where I should be."

    This script quits the Finder:

    tell application "Finder"
    end tell

    *The information above gleaned from The Mac Resource Page and MacInTouch*

How to run VPC "Pseudo Finder" from RAM Disk

VPC "pseudo finder"
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 00:28:28 EST

First, I made a RAM disk of about 12 MB, but i think you only need 10 MB. I made a "System Folder" on the RAM disk, then put my System file in there. I then copied my Appearance extension and control panel, Apple CD-ROM and Text Encoding Converter (needed if you have the HD image on a HFS+ drive) extensions, Virtual PC prefs, and Text Encodings folder in. Before I changed the type and creator of VPC, i maxxed out the memory accolation (since you cant do it once they are changed), subtracing the size of the RAM disk from your total RAM, and giving a leeway of about 3-5 MB. Then change the name of Virtual PC to "Finder." You have to change VPC prefs when using VPC as usual because I dont think you can change them while you're on the RAM disk. Once everything is set-up, restart and hold down Command-Option-Shift-Delete. To get out of it you cant quit and save because the RAM disk i think. You have to shut down by the start menu, and you have to either do the force restart (command-control-power key) right when a real pc would say "it is now safe to shut down your computer" or you might get a bomb message and just click the restart button. Almost all the instructions are the same as the other "pseudo finder" trick, except some parts about HFS+ and not being able to write on RAM. Some problems I havent been able to get around are monitor resolution and depth, and sound level. I'm not sure, but improvment will probably vary for different setups. I have a 8500/120 w/80MB RAM.


Below you will find some benchmarks for Virtual PC when running in the "Pseudo Finder" as described above. These results were run on a 7300/200 comparing Photoshop performance. While Photoshop is probably not a good programs to use for getting a well rounded perspective on the performance of VPC, these benchmarks may give an indication of the performance boost you should see by running VPC as a "pseudo Finder". Results represent the percentage of improvement in time over the standard setup.





    One Persons Experience Speeding Up Softwindows

Subject: Softwindows performance increase
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 19:48:18 -0500
From: Alexander Boriqua <>
Organization: EarthLink Network, Inc.
Newsgroups: comp.sys.mac.system

I love my Mac and after working with the windows operating system for a couple of months am more convinced than ever that if anyone used my machine they would never go back to a PC. Unfortunately the reality is that it is a windows world and my wife uses windows at work. Maclink works OK but you almost always lose all formatting in text doc's when translating. Hence I went and bought Softwindows. I have a 6400/200 w 104 megs running os8. Softwindows worked alright but dreadfully slow. The first thing to do is to make an extension set with nothing on but appearance. In the control panels only leave on the appearance. Give as much memory as you can now to the softwindows application. When setting up the "PC memory" from within Softwindows adjust the "PC extended memory size" so that the available DeltaCache is between 3000 and 5000. By switching to this Extension set and then launching softwindows you should already notice a dramatic increase in speed. Now to really speed things up and I mean a noticeable wonderful speed increase write a script that quits the finder when launching Softwindows under its own extension set. I wrote one that launches softwindows and then quits the finder. WOW I can actually use Internet explorer. I mean really use it. I can drag things across the desktop without that crazy hesitation thing that the icon does. What a difference. I have gotten reprimanded for posting attachments to this group so I will just include the script and hope that whoever needs it or can use it knows how to use apple script.

tell application "Finder"
activate select file "SoftWindowsª 95" of folder "SoftWindows 95" of startup disk
open selection
tell application "Finder" to quit
end tell

Very simple script but it does wonders for softwindows. I saved mine as an application and put it in the apple menu. So here is my procedure for a really useful softwindows. I change my extension set to the Softwindows set that I described I change my screen colors and resolution to the same one as the softwindows setting I restart I go down the apple menu and select the script/application that opens softwindows and quits the finder Hooray This is only good for using one operating sys at a time and not for transferring files between them or having the windows desktop open on the mac desktop. Truth is that I have had nothing but trouble trying to use the shared folder and such anyway and really don't have a need for it. What my little changes do is almost to create two separate computers in one. I switch the things I mentioned and the windows desktop is full screen and it seems as though you are working on a PC. It is in no way as fast as my Mac and never will be. It is however at least as good as my old 6200 though and since I worked with that for over two years without issue this suits me fine. It is only emulation after all. I still use the softwindows Primarily for Word, Excel and WordPerfect but these improvements make a giant difference in your experience. Just opening windows and folders is so much improved that I sometimes use the screen saver and other features that come with windows and leave the machine on in the softwindows configuration. I have successfully created a bare system folder using Softwindows as the finder and the only pref the Softwindows. Unfortunately I have to repartition the hard drive to create the new volume. AHHHH so I will have to set aside time to initialize and reload my software. For now the method I described is more than workable. If anyone would like a copy of the app that launchs softwindows and quits the finder Email and I would be happy to send it but YOU USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK. I have used it without a problem.


External Links

Source data for VPC "pseudo finder" benchmarks
  • More Virtual PC benchmarks
  • Tidbits Review of VPC
  • MacNN compares VPC to RealPC
  • Cnet review of RealPC
  • Connectix