Solved Question for learned Windows folks here on VHDX disks (not VM)


jimbo45

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Hi folks
I'm trying to find some sort of passable stats on the performance issues of running W11 from bootable physical vhdx file(s) - note physical vhdx files not in a VM or hosted on Hyper-V as "Raw drives" compared with the more usual classic way windows is installed from an iso, update or whatever. The Internal physical disk is an SSD (or an M2 type of thing) so quite fast.

Is there any significant difference in performance -- assume identical apps and hardware on both types of installs.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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spapakons

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If I understood correctly, you ask about performance of actually booting natively a virtual hard disk, not running a virtual machine. Well, I guess it would be very close to the performance of actually installing Windows 11 on the host disk, rather than have a copy of the virtual hard disk file. I see no reason using VHDX files if you only care about performance. Even if you want to run Windows 11 on two or more separate computers, just move the physical disk and boot from there. Another case would be to have the VHDX file on a network storage and boot two or more computers mounting it. This would avoid the hassle of moving the physical disk.
 

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    Windows 11 Pro 21H2 64-bit (build 22000.739)
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    Legacy MBR installation, no TPM, no Secure Boot, no WDDM 2.0 graphics drivers, cannot get more unsupported ;) This is only my test laptop. I had installed Windows 11 here before upgrading my main PC. For my main PC I use everyday see my 2nd system specs.
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    Legacy BIOS (MBR) installation, no TPM, no Secure Boot, WDDM 2.3 graphics drivers, WEI score 5.1

Bree

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I'm trying to find some sort of passable stats on the performance issues of running W11 from bootable physical vhdx file(s)......

Is there any significant difference in performance -- assume identical apps and hardware on both types of installs.
I'm not sure there's much that I can add to our previous conversation on this subject.


Except perhaps anecdotally that once an app has opened it seems to be just as fast when running a on a vhdx system. The swapfile, if being used, is on a normal physical partition, not in the vhdx, so that shouldn't be an issue.
 

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    Windows 11 Home
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    Acer Aspire 3 A315-23
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    AMD Athlon Silver 3050U
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    8GB
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    Radeon Graphics
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    1366x768 native resolution, up to 2560x1440 with Radeon Virtual Super Resolution
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    1TB HDD
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    fully 'Windows 11 ready' laptop. Windows 10 C: partition migrated from my old unsupported 'main machine' then upgraded to 11. A test migration ran Insider builds for 2 months. When 11 was released on 5th October it was re-imaged back to 10 and was offered the upgrade in Windows Update on 20th October.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
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    Dell Lattitude E4310
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    i5 M 520
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    0T6M8G
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    4GB
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    500GB HDD
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    unsupported machine: Legacy bios, MBR, TPM 1.2, upgraded from W10 to W11 using W10/W11 hybrid install media workaround.


    My SYSTEM THREE is a Dell Latitude 5410, i7-10610U, 32GB RAM, 512GB ssd, Windows 11 Pro.

spapakons

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Performance should be the same as running natively on a physical disk on the same host PC.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 21H2 64-bit (build 22000.739)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Extensa 5630EZ
    CPU
    Mobile DualCore Intel Core 2 Duo T7250, 2000 MHz
    Motherboard
    Acer Extensa 5630
    Memory
    4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Mobile Intel(R) GMA 4500M (Mobile 4 series)
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC268 @ Intel 82801IB ICH9 - High Definition Audio Controller
    Monitor(s) Displays
    1
    Screen Resolution
    1280x800
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB SATA Device (250 GB, SATA-III)
    Internet Speed
    VDSL 50 Mbps
    Browser
    MICROSOFT EDGE
    Antivirus
    WINDOWS DEFENDER
    Other Info
    Legacy MBR installation, no TPM, no Secure Boot, no WDDM 2.0 graphics drivers, cannot get more unsupported ;) This is only my test laptop. I had installed Windows 11 here before upgrading my main PC. For my main PC I use everyday see my 2nd system specs.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro v21H2 (build 22000.739)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom-built PC
    CPU
    Intel Core-i7 3770 3.40GHz s1155 (3rd generation)
    Motherboard
    Asus P8H61 s1155 ATX
    Memory
    2x Kingston Hyper-X Blu 8GB DDR3-1600
    Graphics card(s)
    Asus GT620-1GD3 (nVidia GeForce GT 620 1GB DDR3)
    Sound Card
    Realtek HD audio (ALC887)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Sony Bravia KDL-19L4000 19" LCD TV via VGA
    Screen Resolution
    1440x900 32-bit 60Hz
    Hard Drives
    Patriot Burst Elite 480GB SSD as system disk, Western Digital Caviar Purple 4TB SATA III (WD40PURZ) as second
    PSU
    Thermaltake Litepower RGB 550W Full Wired
    Case
    SUPERCASE MIDI-TOWER
    Cooling
    Stock Intel CPU Fan, 1x 8cm fan at the back
    Mouse
    Sunnyline OptiEye PS/2
    Keyboard
    Mitsumi 101-key PS/2
    Internet Speed
    100Mbps
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Legacy BIOS (MBR) installation, no TPM, no Secure Boot, WDDM 2.3 graphics drivers, WEI score 5.1

cereberus

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Performance should be the same as running natively on a physical disk on the same host PC.
I have tested this in past, and always concluded vhdxs do cause some performance loss.


I have a cloned version of my host OS in a vhd, and so I did the same backup of host drive using Macrium Reflect from host OS, and cloned OS in native booted vhdx file. The host OS backed up in 3 mins 45, the cloned vhdx version in 4 mins 30 seconds.

I then run the same passmark bench test on both. What is interesting is the cpu test for native boot was significantly faster than the vhdx boot, whereas all the others are about the same. To me, that tells me that Windows has to do more work to manage virtual hard drives than native drives.

So, based on my testing, there is a performance penalty in using vhdx drives rather than physical drives.

Having said that performance loss running a virtual machine is much greater.

1652279618515.png
 

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spapakons

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The penalty is there because the CPU is occupied reading the data from the VHDX file, while when running natively from the physical disk the controller's DMA (Direct Memory Access feature) saves CPU from monitoring all the I/O transfers.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 21H2 64-bit (build 22000.739)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Extensa 5630EZ
    CPU
    Mobile DualCore Intel Core 2 Duo T7250, 2000 MHz
    Motherboard
    Acer Extensa 5630
    Memory
    4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Mobile Intel(R) GMA 4500M (Mobile 4 series)
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC268 @ Intel 82801IB ICH9 - High Definition Audio Controller
    Monitor(s) Displays
    1
    Screen Resolution
    1280x800
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB SATA Device (250 GB, SATA-III)
    Internet Speed
    VDSL 50 Mbps
    Browser
    MICROSOFT EDGE
    Antivirus
    WINDOWS DEFENDER
    Other Info
    Legacy MBR installation, no TPM, no Secure Boot, no WDDM 2.0 graphics drivers, cannot get more unsupported ;) This is only my test laptop. I had installed Windows 11 here before upgrading my main PC. For my main PC I use everyday see my 2nd system specs.
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro v21H2 (build 22000.739)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom-built PC
    CPU
    Intel Core-i7 3770 3.40GHz s1155 (3rd generation)
    Motherboard
    Asus P8H61 s1155 ATX
    Memory
    2x Kingston Hyper-X Blu 8GB DDR3-1600
    Graphics card(s)
    Asus GT620-1GD3 (nVidia GeForce GT 620 1GB DDR3)
    Sound Card
    Realtek HD audio (ALC887)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Sony Bravia KDL-19L4000 19" LCD TV via VGA
    Screen Resolution
    1440x900 32-bit 60Hz
    Hard Drives
    Patriot Burst Elite 480GB SSD as system disk, Western Digital Caviar Purple 4TB SATA III (WD40PURZ) as second
    PSU
    Thermaltake Litepower RGB 550W Full Wired
    Case
    SUPERCASE MIDI-TOWER
    Cooling
    Stock Intel CPU Fan, 1x 8cm fan at the back
    Mouse
    Sunnyline OptiEye PS/2
    Keyboard
    Mitsumi 101-key PS/2
    Internet Speed
    100Mbps
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Legacy BIOS (MBR) installation, no TPM, no Secure Boot, WDDM 2.3 graphics drivers, WEI score 5.1

jimbo45

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Thanks guys
Doesn't seem excessive -- I like the convenience of being able to run a load of Windows OS'es from an external SSD -- "Sort of Windows 2 GO". Performance for me is fine , video streaming from SKY GO and other services works OK. I was just curious -- boot time might be slightly (but barely not noticeably longer) because the "initial boot loader" needs to set up the vhdx files for the boot menu (it's a "skeletal Win PE system" that attaches the appropriate vhdx file and then boots up). One can even take a screenshot of the boot menu so there's obviously a "Nascent OS" running - or at least a mini-kernel with video capability.

VM's depending on the hardware do obviously have a penalty on typical domestic systems -- however running vhdx files on "Raw" physical disks" in a VM works a lot better in most cases (at least I've found) than relying on the VM programs own "Virtual Disk" I/O systems as it has to pass requests from its own disk format to the windows "Virtual I/O" processor. In this scenario HYPER-V might be a more efficient Host OS when using "physical" VHDX" files.

Marking as solved

Thanks for all the replies.

Cheers
jimbo
 
Last edited:

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