Improving Ubuntu 18.04 guest performance in Virtualbox

Recently upgraded a 16.04 Ubuntu guest (Windows 10 host) to to 18.04 and saw a massive drop in performance. The lag in the desktop environment was unbearable. This was even with the guest additions properly installed. These settings finally fixed it:

  • System
    • Motherboard
      • Chipset: ICH9
      • Extended Features: Enable I/O APIC, Hardware Clock in UTC Time.
    • Processor
      • Extended Features: Enable PAE/NX
    • Acceleration
      • Paravirtualization Interface: KVM.
      • Hardware Virtualization: Enable VT-x/AMD-V, Enable Nested Paging.
  • Display
    • Disable 3D Acceleration
  • Storage
    • Controller: SATA
      • Use Host I/O Cache enabled[1]
  • Network
    • Adapter 1
      • Advanced – Adapter Type: virtio

[1] This can lead to wasted memory via double-caching since the guest and host have their own I/O cache, among other tradeoffs.


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