Xen - XP Guest

I have Xen/openSUSE installed and running on one drive. I also have Win XP installed on a separate drive.

My CPU’s (Intel xeon’s) support virtualisation and it’s enabled in the BIOS.

Ideally I would like to have openSUSE as the host OS and XP as a guest on a separate drive and also utilising that drive in the normal manner as apposed to creating a single file to be used as a virtual drive.

I have attempted to set it up by pointing the VM to the physical hard drive and the VM manager says it’s running, but XP hasn’t booted.


Is it possible to virtualise a current working installation of XP? If so, how do I set it up and run it?

I’ve finally got XP booting under Xen from its original installation. The problem was with the disk’s partition table. :frowning: Somewhere between splitting the disk from a RAID-1 setup, reducing the original primary partition XP is installed on and creating a second partition, things got a little messy. :open_mouth: I’m actually amazed I’ve not lost any data, touch wood. rotfl!

Anyway, XP runs way too slow to be of any use, considering I was trying to set this up so I could run my 3D CAD software without having to reboot all the time.

I keep reading that XP should run at near native speeds under Xen, so if anyone has any ideas, it would be much appreciated.

I have just started w/ xen and have no answer for you, but I am having similar problems. openSuSE 11.1 64 bit running xen kernel. (8gb mem, 2.4 ghz core2 duo).

xpProfessional is the guest allocated 1 cpu and 1.5 Gig of ram (seemed slower when I gave it 2 cpus), but it runs slow and takes 4-1/2 minutes or more to login screen. Media playback is excruciatingly slow.

For comparison I just installed server 2003 as a xen guest with similar virtual hardware and it boots (to login screen) in about 36 seconds.

In both cases you will have better display response using a remote machine to access your virtual machine via RDP. Even using low spec devices like my eeepc over wireless is almost acceptable. (xpPro can be a little slow, server 2003 seems acceptable so far)

I think this is because xen is being asked to do too much when the display runs on the same machine as the guest. (as well as vnc’s limitations)

Also in suse I have only been able to get the built in vnc viewer to work reliably, need to experiment more w/ sdl, but vnc is nowhere near as fast for this use as you will find w/ rdp.

As for your second post, what display device is the virtual machine using?

Hope this info is usefull and will prompt further discussion

I’ve given up on the idea of virtualising XP as its performance under Xen was bad, and annoyingly, it triggered the need to activate XP, which only provided 3 days to do it. This means if I need/want to boot directly to XP instead of running it as a guest, it will trigger activation again and I’ll eventually be forced to call MS to activate it. One big pain in the *rse I really don’t need.

I still have Xen installed but am currently booting to the default kernel as I don’t have any other guest systems installed. I’ll probably end up removing Xen in the future.

Sorry, I can’t remember what display device the VM used with XP as I removed it when it didn’t perform adequately and the 3 day activation thing didn’t provide enough time to investigate further.

Sorry to hear of your activation troubles, currently I’m a student at a school that thinks computing is m$ so I can (am forced to) get winders w/out (direct) financial cost. Every quarter my classes face draconian licencing and activation issues though.

Back to xen

I believe there are 3 areas causing bottlenecks for my usage.

I am using files rather than physical disks or partitions to store my vm’s. Not only that but my “filedisks” are all on the same physical drive, that has to affect disk IO speeds, especially at boot up.

I haven’t spent enough time learning how to optimize xpPro . At 1 point last night I had xp booting to the login in about 1 minute, a great improvement over the 4-1/2 minutes I reported earlier. Removing unneeded services from xp, completely removing its swap partition, and tuning Xen’s vm memory settings helped here. Unfortunately I am back to 2-1/2 minute boot times currently, but once booted performance is not bad.

Third (and probably also quite important), I am using my Dom0 to run my desktop and its associated services, (mysql, apache, mpd) as well as my desktop applications and numerous web browsers. This is definitely not the way that xen is intended to be used. If I were to virtualize my desktop environment to Dom1 (and use different physical drives for each machine) I believe I would see an improvement throughout the system.

As for accessing the vm’s display, you really need to use remote desktop (RDP) from another machine w/in your personal lan to get acceptable performance. Preferably at Gb speeds, but wireless can be acceptable for some usages.

I’m not sure if the emulated cirrus logic video would meet your needs or not.

Bottom line, If you want to view your VM’s on the machine that they run on you are better off w/ vmware server (no financial cost) or VirtualBox (open source or no$ versions available).

vmware is more trouble if you update your kernel often but it is my current workhorse (I use version 1.0.8). I have also had good luck w/ VirtualBox and many prefer it, especially with the current work being done to improve it’s 3d performance, but haven’t used it enough to leave vmware yet.

Best of luck