Windows Embedded Blog

Advanced Integration of Virtual PC 7 / XP Mode

with 8 comments


Free Download: VMlauncher.zip (Version 0.9)

VMLauncher allows you to open any file or folder from your local host system in a specified Virtual Machine.
This improves the integration of Windows Virtual PC.
There is no need anymore to open the Virtual Machine in Desktop Mode to install a new application!
You can open any program, file or folder directly from your Windows 7 Desktop.
Just right click on the application, file or folder and select the “Open in Virtual Machine” and it will open in the selected Virtual Machine but will run directly on your Windows 7 Desktop.
 image

Example: You want to install a new program in XP Mode (Virtual Machine).
Just right click onto the Setup file and select "Open in XP Mode".
The setup will start directly in the XP Mode Virtual Machine but will run on the Windows 7 Desktop.

 

For example you can create your own Sandbox OS.
Just enable Undo Disk on your XP Mode PC and you can install any software right from the Windows 7 Context Menu.
If you get tired of the software just clear the undo disk.

image

Requirements – Host System

  • Windows 7
  • Windows Virtual PC 7 RC
  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

Requirements – Guest System

  • Integration Features installed
  • Integration Features activated
  • Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime
  • MSXML 3.0

Installation – Host System

  • Extract the files to any folder with write permission on your pc
  • Run the VMLauncher.exe

Installation – Guest System

  • Copy the VMLauncher.exe from the Client folder to any folder in the Virtual Machine
  • Run the VMLauncher.exe in the Virtual Machine
  • Answer the appearing messagebox with yes to install the software

How to use

  • Open the VMLauncher.exe on the host system
  • Check the Virtual Machines in the list on the left side which should appear in the context menu
  • Click Apply to update the context menu

Now you can right click on any file in Windows Explorer and select "Open in xxxxxx" and the file will open in the selected Virtual Machine.

Function description

Refresh
This will refresh the list of available Virtual Machines. All VMs with VMLauncher.exe from the Client folder installed will appear in this list.

Create Launchfile

This allows you to create a custom launch file. With the custom launch file you can start any application in a specific Virtual Machine.
To create a launch file
- select the Virtual Machine in which the program should from the list above
- enter the full application path into the input dialog (e.g. C:Program FilesInternet Exploreriexplore.exe)
- save the launch file where you can easily access it (e.g. your Desktop or Startmenu)
To run the program in the VM just double click the Launchfile.

Keep Launchfiles
This will keep all the launchfiles created through “Open in xxxxx” in the application folder.
Normally a launchfile gets deleted after it has been executed.
This function is indended for debug reasons only.
Custom created launchfiles (created with the Create Launchfile button) will never be deleted!

Show VMs in folder context menus
This will add the "Open in xxxxxx" context menu entries for the selected VMs also in the context menus of folders.
With this function enabled you can right click any folder and select "Open in xxxx" to open it with the VM’s Windows Explorer.

Always Mount Network Drive
If this option is enabled VMLauncher will always connect a network drive to the host system and open the file through the mounted path. You should use this function if some setup applications do not work (see Mount Network Drive for these filetypes)

Mount Network Drive for these filetypes
VMLauncher will mount a network drive to the host if one of the specified filetypes should be opened in a VM.
For example .msi files will create an error if they are launched through a RDP share (e.g. \tsclientCsetup.msi).
If you add .msi to the list of filetypes the msi file will be launched from the mounted drive and run normally without any error (e.g. R:setup.msi)

Discard & Close
Closes the configuration window without saving the changes

Apply
This will apply the changes and leave the window open
An UAC window will appear – you need to allow it to make the changes

Save & Close
This will apply the changes and close the configuration window
An UAC window will appear – you need to allow it to make the changes

Uninstall – Host System

  • Run VMLauncher.exe
  • Uncheck all VMs from the list and click Save & Close
  • Delete the program

Uninstall – Guest System

  • Run the VMLauncher.exe with the argument UNINSTALL

VMLauncher.exe UNINSTALL

  • Click Yes
  • Delete VMLauncher.exe

Free Download: VMlauncher.zip (Version 0.9)

Written by Wolfgang Unger

August 23, 2009 at 17:02

Posted in Windows 7

8 Responses

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  1. I have installed VMLauncher on a Windows 7 Enterprise 64 bit system. When starting vmlauncher.exe i get the following message:Error enumerating VMs. Could not find a part of the path c:\users\myname\appdata\roaming\microsoft\windows\start menu\programs\windows virtual PC.Any idea what goes wrong here ? when confirming the message the vmlauncher opens, but no items are listed.

    Alex

    September 23, 2009 at 18:25

  2. Have you installed also the VMLauncher client in the the Virtual Machines you wish to use with the tool?If you installed it – the VMLauncher running on the Win7 Host should recognize the VM and you can configure it.

    Wolfgang

    September 25, 2009 at 06:31

  3. @Alex: You should install it as a Admin (rightclick).

    Unknown

    September 27, 2009 at 17:58

  4. @alex, same thing happened to me. you have to run as administrator just as "no name" wrote. That fixed the problem for me.

    Robert

    January 31, 2010 at 22:23

  5. ok I give up on how to get this to work. No matter what file (.exe, .txt..etc) I click on and then right-click and choose open in xp mode, I get a box that says "Cannot start virtual application …Incorrect file association. The associated virtual application could not open this file. File association in the virtual machine may not be correct for this type of file." I have the app on the host machine set to open in administrator mode. I spent 4 hours trying to figure it out and nadda. Any ideas?

    Unknown

    February 26, 2010 at 23:37

  6. I get the same problem as the last 2 comments, I changed VMLauncher.exe (on the Compatibility tab) to always run as Administrator, now I get the elevation prompt every time, so it’s definitely running as Admin, but that doesn’t help. One issue was I copied vmlauncher.exe to the desktop of my virtual machine ran it to do the install as instructed and then deleted it. What the instructions don’t say is you have to leave the .exe behind in the folder you ran it from because the "install" creates a registry key in HKCR pointing at this file. i.e. vmlauncher.exe is the program on the virtual machine it’s not an installer in the usual sense. Robin Penny

    Robin

    March 17, 2010 at 22:07

  7. This now seems to be working for me, I didn’t change anything else. I just ran it a couple more times. So the fix would seem to be a combination of getting vmlauncher.exe to run elevated on Win7 (via right click and Compatibility tab), and understanding that the vmlauncher.exe you copy to the XP mode VM isn’t actually an installer as such, it just masquerades as one the first time you launch it (so don’t delete it afterwards). I would suggest putting it in a folder under Program Files.I now use this to launch .jpg files in Photoshop elements via the context menu (for which I also used the Mount Network drive for the .jpg filetype – see screenshot). Robin Penny

    Robin

    March 17, 2010 at 22:32

  8. Now we just need a change to get rid of the irritating elevation prompt. Can someone do a manifest to fix this?

    Robin

    March 17, 2010 at 22:36


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