After days of googling and a lot of trial and errors, I finally succeed running virtualbox as service. I tried VBoxVmService by mattz but have no luck. Then I tried another method with srvstart and Windows Service Commander explained here. It works for one Virtual Machine, but not for multiple Virtual Machines. While I need to run three Virtual Machines simultaneously. All without any user logged on! OK, enough talking, let’s start the tutorial…
- I tried this only on Windows XP SP3 and Windows 2003 Server SP2 (I think it may works on Windows 2000 Server as well)
update: this method works on Windows Server 2008 (check Brian’s comment below) Thanks Brian!
update Sept 29th 2009 : it works on Windows Seven 64 bit (check Mr Incredible’s comment). Thanks Mr Incredible!
update Sept 29th 2009: it works on Windows Vista (check Victor Pajor’s comment below). Thanks Victor Pajor!
- SUN VirtualBox for Windows version 2.2.2 or more (download here)
update Oct 13th 2009: it works on Windows XP SP3 with VirtualBox 3.0.8 (check Kikeze’s comment below). Thanks Kikeze!
- srvstart (download here)
- Windows Service Commander (download here)
- Install SUN VirtualBox, create and configure your guest OS’s
- Make sure you click the Remote Display setting, and check the "Enable VRDP server" option. Then assign a port number like 3001, 3002, 3003, etc.
- Setup all your guest OS’s as needed (install applications, setup preferences, tweaks, etc.)
- Shutdown all your guest OS’s
- Go to C:\Documents and Settings\YOURUSERNAME\.VirtualBox\ and open the file VirtualBox.xml with notepad.
- Press CTRL+F (find) and type "src" without quotes and press ENTER
Edit the words src="Machines\YOURVMNAMEYOURVMNAME.xml" into src="C:Documents and Settings\YOURUSERNAME\.VirtualBox\Machines\YOURVMNAME\YOURVMNAME.xml.
Close the file, and click Yes when asked "Do you want to save the changes?"
. If you have more than one Virtual Machines, then you must repeat this step and replace the paths to your Virtual Machines’s .xml file accordingly.
Copy the file named VirtualBox.xml
from C:Documents and Settings\YOURUSERNAME\.VirtualBox\
to C:Documents and Settings\LocalService\.VirtualBox\
- Install Windows Service Commander
- Create a new directory C:\vm
- Extract the srvstart_run.v110.zip file to this C:vm directory
- Open notepad, copy and paste the code below
env=VBOXGUI="C:\Program Files\Sun\xVM VirtualBox\virtualbox.exe"
env=VBOXHEADLESS="C:\Program Files\Sun\xVM VirtualBox\vboxheadless.exe"
env=VBOXWEBSRV="C:\Program Files\Sun\xVM VirtualBox\vboxwebsrv.exe"
env=VBOXMANAGE="C:\Program Files\Sun\xVM VirtualBox\VBoxManage.exe"
env=VBOX_PROG="C:\Program Files\Sun\xVM VirtualBox\"
env=VBOX_BASE="C:\Documents and Settings\YOURUSERNAMEHERE\.VirtualBox\"
env=VBOX_MACHINES="C:\Documents and Settings\YOURUSERNAMEHERE\.VirtualBox\machines\"
env=VBOX_VDI="C:\Documents and Settings\YOURUSERNAMEHERE\.VirtualBox\HardDisks\"
env=USERPROFILE=%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\LocalService\
startup=%VBOXHEADLESS% -startvm YOURVMNAME
shutdown=%VBOXMANAGE% controlvm YOURVMNAME savestate
- Replace YOURUSERNAME above with your own windows user account, and YOURVMNAME with your own Virtual Machine’s name
- Close Notepad and save it as srvstart.ini in C:\VM
- Run Windows Service Commander
- Click Tools > Install new service
- The Service install wizard will show up, click Next
c:\VM\srvstart.exe svc YOURVMNAME -c "c:\vm\srvstart.ini"
- Again, replace YOURVMNAME above with your own Virtual Machine’s name
- Press Next
- Enter any name you want in the Name and Display Name field (ie. My VM Service), then add some descriptions if needed (optional)
- Press Next
- Check the "Allow service to interact with desktop" option
- Press Next
- Leave the startup as Manual and error as Ignore for now
- Press Next
- Press Next again as there’s nothing to change here
- Click Finish
- Now you’ll see the new service name in the service list
- Click on it and press the triangle button at the toolbar to start the service
- If the red round icon turns into green, then your VM is running as service successfully!
- If everything’s work as expected, you can change the startup type of your service as automatic, so every time your host Windows OS runs, your VirtualBox service will also runs
- If you want to modify an existing Virtual Machine’s configuration (eg. add memory, etc), or add a new Virtual Machine, you must set the VirtualBox service’s startup type to manual first, shutdown all your guest OS’s, and restart the host OS. We do this so there is no process is locking up the VirtualBox.xml file. After restart, the .VirtualBox.xml file can be modified and recopied into C:\Documents and Settings\LocalService\.VirtualBox (see step no. 8 above)
- To control your Virtual Machines, you can use Remote Desktop Connection and put your host computer’s IP, followed by a colon and the port number u assigned in the Remote Display setting (see step no. 2 above) eg. 192.168.2.60:3001
- See the debug=1 line in the srvstart.ini file above? You can safely set it to debug=0 if no errors occurred when practicing this tutorial.
- This tutorial shows how to run a single Virtual Machine as service, next time I will write another tutorial to run multiple Virtual Machines like mine. Check out the tutorial to run multiple Virtual Machine!
- Source with some modifications from VirtualBox forum (rasker’s post)
- Snapshots will be added later.