VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Discussions related to using VirtualBox on Windows hosts.

VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby bradr » 10. Feb 2010, 14:49

Hi All,

This is something I wrote sometime ago, but today cleaned it up and put it up here: http://www.toptensoftware.com/VBoxHeadlessTray . It lets you run a VirtualBox machine as a Windows tray icon, with commands to start/stop/pause/resume etc + ability to add custom right-click commands.

It's only had limited tested so let me know if you find any issues. The main area of suspicion is when shutting down/resuming Windows where it's supposed to save the machine and then restore it again. I had a lot of trouble with that, but I think it's working now.

Requires VirtualBox 3.1.2, Win32 or x64.

Brad
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby bradr » 11. Feb 2010, 07:00

Hi,

I wrote this because I'm always running a few Ubuntu Server VMs with no GUI and I just SSH to them. So there's no built in support for GUI but you have two choices:

* Enable VirtualBox's VRDP server for each machine and use remote desktop.
* Save the machine state and reopen it in the VirtualBox gui when you need it. (useful if you occasionally need to get into a machine that otherwise just runs as a server).

Brad
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby saberman » 11. Feb 2010, 21:17

Brad,

There does not appear to be a shutdown option in the VBoxHeadlessTray context menu. The only options for stopping the machine are Power Off and Save. Can that be added via a GuestProperty? What security context are the context menu commands executed in?

When starting VBoxHeadlessTray from a power user (non administrative) account on Windows 7 Ultimate x64 I get two prompts:
1. The unknown publisher one -- do you want to run this program. Even if I uncheck the tell me each time checkbox I still get this prompt the next time.
2. I get a UAC prompt for an administrative password.
Is there anyway to avoid these two prompts?
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby bradr » 11. Feb 2010, 23:25

Hi Saberman,

Thanks for letting me know about this. The shutdown option isn't there, but I could probably add it fairly easily.

As for the prompt and the UAC thing I didn't get that when I tested it on Win7 here. What I suspect is the file is still marked as untrusted. Try this: in Windows Explorer, on the extracted exe file(s), right click, select properties and if present, click the "Unblock" button.

Brad
bradr
 
Posts: 12
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Guest OSses: Ubuntu

Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby saberman » 12. Feb 2010, 07:37

Unblocking did not change anything.

I still get the not signed prompt. If I uncheck the box about warning me again. The Run button changes from just saying Run to having an administrator logo and the word Run. When I click on it I get the request for an administrator password.

I still get the unsigned prompt the next time I start VirtualBoxHeadlessTray.

If I do not uncheck the warn me again box and just press the Run button VirutalBoxHeadlessTray starts without the administrator prompt.

I tried changing the shortcut to run as an administrator. I don't get the unsigned prompt but when I enter an administrator password VirtualBoxHeadlessTray doesn't list any VMs -- probably because it is running with the administrator's credentials and the VMs are defined under mine.

My host is Windows 7 Ultimate x64. I run as a super user not an administrator.
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby bradr » 12. Feb 2010, 14:05

saberman wrote:Unblocking did not change anything.

I still get the not signed prompt. If I uncheck the box about warning me again. The Run button changes from just saying Run to having an administrator logo and the word Run. When I click on it I get the request for an administrator password.

I still get the unsigned prompt the next time I start VirtualBoxHeadlessTray.

If I do not uncheck the warn me again box and just press the Run button VirutalBoxHeadlessTray starts without the administrator prompt.

I tried changing the shortcut to run as an administrator. I don't get the unsigned prompt but when I enter an administrator password VirtualBoxHeadlessTray doesn't list any VMs -- probably because it is running with the administrator's credentials and the VMs are defined under mine.

My host is Windows 7 Ultimate x64. I run as a super user not an administrator.

Hrm, you must have some sort of weird file permission problem. I just tried it as a standard user and it worked fine. I found that if I extract the zip with Windows Explorer the extracted files are blocked but if I say to run and not show the wanring again it works fine - and I can see the VMs for the standard user. If I use WinRar to extract the files they're not blocked and it just works.
bradr
 
Posts: 12
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Guest OSses: Ubuntu

Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby bradr » 12. Feb 2010, 14:07

I've put up a new version:

* Added ACPI commands for power button and sleep button (requires guest additions to be installed in the guest OS)
* Added a new command to launch Remote Desktop for the hosted machine
* Added two new commands "Open VirtualBox GUI" and "Go Headless" that switch between the headless hosting of the machine and the main VirtualBox GUI. Note the machine needs to be saved and restored to perform this switch.
* Reorganised the context menu a bit.

http://www.toptensoftware.com/VBoxHeadlessTray
bradr
 
Posts: 12
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Guest OSses: Ubuntu

Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby bradr » 12. Feb 2010, 15:29

I've just knocked together a setup program for this. It's just the one setup for both x64 and win32 target machines - it works out which to install.

Download and updated instructions here: http://www.toptensoftware.com/VBoxHeadlessTray

Brad
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby flyswatta » 19. Feb 2010, 05:42

Rock on!! This is awesome! Thank you!
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby freggel.doe » 23. Feb 2010, 21:09

This nice little tool is just what I needed, thank you.
There is just one small inconvinience: it doesn't detect another running instance for the same virtual machine. It just presents a 'could not open logfile - error 13' message and starts up anyways. Then it's somewhat tedious to find the doubled instances and end one of them - especially if you have some more machines running.
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby larrycai » 20. Mar 2010, 17:38

just tried it, it works fine under my windows Vista machine.

One thing if it can be improved:
- other VM can be triggered from the tray directly when on vm is there

It can avoid to start vm from >start menu

anyway, thanks for your work.
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby LeQuack » 23. Mar 2010, 15:30

Great tool this is. However I have a suggestion, when VRDP is disabled the application correctly acknowledges that when you try to open RDC. The problem is that VRDP is automatically started when using the headless mode. The application should start the VBoxHeadless.exe with the parameter --vrdp=off when it detects that the VRDP is disabled in machine configuration. I like to disable VRDP for security reason and just use port forwarding to connect to Microsoft's own RDP.
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby orphantech » 6. Apr 2010, 19:22

I like this addition, but I do have a problem. Apparently it is assumed that the virtualbox is installed on the c: drive (or default %programfiles% ). I would like to see an option to select where virtualbox is installed, because I did not install virtualbox into the default location.

However launching my Virtual OS is working perfectly fine, and I would like to say THANK YOU!!! I love it other than the above issue.

-Manuel
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby fluxsmith » 8. Apr 2010, 06:16

Nice software! However, I had some trouble getting it working. I'd installed VirtualBox to c:\program files\VirtualBox, instead of c:\program files\Sun\VirtualBox. Your program assumes the latter install path. To remedy it I created a directory junction. I'd like to suggest instead of hard-coding the path that you read the path from HKLM\Software\Sun\VirtualBox\InstallDir.

Thank you.
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Re: VBoxHeadlessTray - free utility to run VMs in Windows tray

Postby Uzume » 12. Apr 2010, 16:53

LeQuack wrote:Great tool this is. However I have a suggestion, when VRDP is disabled the application correctly acknowledges that when you try to open RDC. The problem is that VRDP is automatically started when using the headless mode. The application should start the VBoxHeadless.exe with the parameter --vrdp=off when it detects that the VRDP is disabled in machine configuration. I like to disable VRDP for security reason and just use port forwarding to connect to Microsoft's own RDP.


There is already a method to do what you want. Just always launch VBoxHeadless with "--vrdp=config". VBoxHeadless runs with VRDP enabled by default (for backwards compatibility) unless specified otherwise on the command line to force it enabled, disabled or to use the XML config to decide to enable it or not.

I have not used VBoxHeadlessTray so do not know how this ties into such but it seems to makes sense for VBoxHeadlessTray to launch VMs with "VBoxHeadless --vrdp=config".
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