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Access VirtualBox Virtual Machines from the Windows 7 Start Menu or Taskbar

00_vboxlaunch_on_start_menu

If you open different virtual machines in VirtualBox often, you will like VBoxLaunch. It allows you to launch virtual machines directly from the Start menu using a jumplist without having to launch the VirtualBox Manager first.

VBoxLaunch does not change any settings in VirtualBox or the interface. It reads the list of virtual machines available in the VirtualBox Manager and creates direct links to those virtual machines in the jumplist for VBoxLaunch on the Start menu or the Taskbar.

Extract the .zip file you downloaded (see the download link at the end of the article) and copy the VBoxLaunch.exe file.

01_copying_vboxlaunch

Paste the VBoxLaunch.exe file in the VirtualBox program directory (usually C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox). Right-click on the VBoxLaunch.exe file and select Create shortcut from the popup menu.

02_create_shortcut

You may not have the correct permissions to create files in the VirtualBox program directory. If that is the case, Windows asks if you want to place the shortcut on the desktop instead. That is fine, so click Yes. It doesn’t matter where the shortcut is placed.

03_cant_create_shortcut_here

Right-click on the shortcut (wherever it was created) and select Pin to Start Menu.

NOTE: If you want to also access your virtual machines from the Taskbar, right-click the shortcut again and select Pin to Taskbar, as well.

04_pinning_to_start_menu

To create the jumplist containing links to your VirtualBox virtual machines, you must start VBoxLaunch once to open the VirtualBox Manager and then exit. Start VBoxLaunch from the Start menu or Taskbar.

05_starting_vboxlaunch

If the Open File – Security Warning dialog box displays, click Run to open the VirtualBox Manager.

06_security_warning_dialog

Select Exit from the File menu to close the VirtualBox Manager.

07_closing_virtualbox

Now, when you move your mouse over the VBoxLaunch Start menu item, a jumplist displays with all your available virtual machines listed. Simply select a virtual machine to open it without having to open the VirtualBox Manager first.

08_opening_vm_with_vboxlaunch

The jumplist is also available from the Taskbar if you pinned the VBoxLaunch shortcut there.

09_opening_vm_from_taskbar

The Manage virtual machines item under Tasks on the jumplist opens the VirtualBox Manager. This allows you to remove any shortcuts to the VirtualBox Manager you had. All you need is the VBoxLaunch shortcut pinned to the Start menu or Taskbar.

Download VBoxLaunch from http://nicbedford.co.uk/software/vboxlaunch/.

VBoxLaunch requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, which should already exist in Windows 7. If, for some reason, you do not have the Microsoft .NET Framework, you can download it from http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=22. We tested VBoxLaunch on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, but the developer says it should also work on 32-bit systems.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 10/11/11

Comments (3)

  1. jon_hill987

    I use VMware Player at work, is there a similar trick for that?

  2. Piyush

    If you right click on any image. There is an option called “Create shortcut on desktop” This shortcut u can use in

    1. Jumplist
    2. Start Menu list
    3. Pinned items list

    point is..u need not to install a seperate software

  3. wunch

    Another way:
    - Find the .vbox (or .xml) file for the VM you want
    - Double-click that file to open the VM in VirtualBox (or right-click, open with for .xml)
    - Pin it from the recent items jumplist for VirtualBox

    Or even simpler: if you’re only using the taskbar jumplist, you can just drag that file to the VirtualBox icon on the taskbar and it will pin it to the jumplist.

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