Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010 3:16 PM by CoreyRoth

When I got my new laptop, I had a ton of issues with high guest CPU utilization in recent versions of Orcale VirtualBox.  It turns out I wasn’t alone with this situation seeing as how many comments I had on my previous post.  We all tried a lot of different things with varying degrees of success.  Personally, my work around was to go all the way back to version 3.0.12.  It worked alright, but things could be better.  Luckily, someone by the name of EdwardW came through for all of us and discovered that disabling Nested Paging seems to correct the issue.  I tried it myself and have been running for over a day with various virtual machines and they are performing great.  I only know Edward by his handle EdwardW, but we are all thankful for his diligence in finding a solution to our issue.  He even claimed to have it working well with multiple virtual CPUs.

If you’re not familiar with this setting.  Shut down your virtual machine so that you can edit the settings.  Then go to the system tab, click on Acceleration and then uncheck the Enable Nested Paging checkbox.  Click OK and start the virtual machine up and you should quickly notice some performance improvements.

VirtualBoxDisableNestedPaging

It seems to work great for me so far.  I was quick to pronounce a victory last time, but things appear to be running faster than ever now.  Give it a try for yourself.  The CPU utilization was even decent when I had a search crawl running.

VirtualBoxCPU

The strange thing about all of this is that my previous laptop did not have this issue.  I now suspect it is likely to have something to do with newer processors such as the i5 and i7.  I could be wrong, but it certainly seems like the case for me.  Is performance so good now that I can run FAST Search?  Well, I wouldn’t say that, but it is better.  Give it a try for yourself and let us know how it works.

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# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 5:45 AM by Vojtech Nadvornik

The  problem remainded after I disabled the nested paging. However later on I installed the 3.2.10 Virtual Box version and the problem went away. HTH Vojtech.

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Thursday, October 14, 2010 9:50 PM by Patrick Finnicum

Problem cleared up for me too, but only with upgrade to 3.2.10.

host: ubuntu 10.04.1 AMD64

guest:  win7, 2010 Enterprise

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Monday, October 18, 2010 8:00 PM by MontyM

I've tried most of the solutions offered on this page and your previous blog ... no go.

Guest:

VB 3.2.10, Windows SRV 2008 R2, SQL SRV 2008, Dynamics AX 2009

Host: Windows 7 i970 16GB

Searching old virtual box threads I found a suggestion of creating a second dummy VM (i.e. minimum hd, memory etc -- no os). Start the dummy VM first and then your primary VM.

Now this solution worked great - I'm able to see 0% guest utilization where as before it would never get below 36%.

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 11:55 AM by Vladimir Groch

Problem solved. Thank you very much :)

Host Ubuntu 10.10 x64

Guest Windows XP

VirtualBox 3.2.10

CPU Intel DualCore (HP 6530)

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Friday, December 10, 2010 9:42 PM by Monty

Just installed 3.2.12 and no longer need the dummy VM and testing with nested paging works fine.

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Monday, January 24, 2011 9:35 AM by John

Nope...still no go. Updated to 3.2.12, turned off nested paging as well as creating a Dummy VM. Utilisation of guest @100%

Win2k8R2 64 as Host. Win732b as guest.

My other VMs (Ubuntu, XP) work fine and no abnormal CPU utilization.

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Thursday, August 18, 2011 4:03 PM by Akhil

I also went through the same exercise, trying everything possible and suggested on forums... disable nested paging worked good but after that the performance of the guest was so so so so so so bad that I couldn't beat with it.... enable it back again....

windows 7 host windows 7 guest virtual box 4.1 is the version....

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Thursday, August 18, 2011 4:05 PM by Akhil

and the laptop is sony vaio i7 720 with 8 gb ram

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 10:09 PM by Doug

This helped me a lot.

Turned off the nested paging and now IE runs inside of Guest Vista (inside of Ubuntu 11.10 host)

thanks!

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Sunday, February 9, 2014 5:42 PM by Deepak Talwar

Turned off the nested paging works great for me.

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Monday, May 26, 2014 9:56 PM by John

I just did some tests on a system: Gigabyte MB Core2duo 6300, 8GB RAM,  Windows 7 x64 Utl. host and a virtual Lubuntu 13.10 as a vdi guest.

First with virtual guest 1GB RAM it runs at medium cpu load  less than 10%.

Now with 1.5GB RAM cpu load goes up to 60%-100% even with "Nested Paging" disabled.

Return to 1GB RAM cpu drops again.

I believe it's a bug.

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# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 8:58 AM by Rui Gaspar

Working for me! thanks a lot!

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Thursday, January 26, 2017 2:00 PM by Manjesh

Fix found for this, you have assigned more processors than it can handle change the setting > system > Processor , this show below Red. after changing it to below red mark it works fine.

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Sunday, April 30, 2017 12:22 AM by Bill

Two VMs, one fast, the other slow.  Disabled Nested Paging on the slow.  Now it's fast!  Indeed, Mr. Roth, EdwardW was a genius!  Strange thing is that the default setting is still an issue seven years later! FYI, I am using 4.3.36_Debian.

# re: Fix High Guest CPU Utilization in VirtualBox by disabling Nested Paging

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 8:41 PM by NAncyA

Bless you!  It worked!

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