VirtualBox Control Service

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This program is a win32 service that runs under SYSTEM account and provides automatic start/shutdown for a VirtualBox virtual machine. Installing this service gives you the ability to start a virtual machine on system start and gracefully shut it down on system shutdown. You can use following actions: poweroff, savestate, acpipowerbutton or acpisleepbutton.


Configuration is done via .ini file with the same name as the service executable. A default configuration file is included in distribution archive.

Configuration options:

VboxInstallPathSet this to a folder where VirtualBox is installed
VboxUserHomeSet this to a location of your .VirtualBox homedir
VmNameThe name of the virtual machine this service will control
ShutdownCommandThe command used to shutdown a VM: poweroff, savestate, acpipowerbutton, acpisleepbutton
ServiceNameAn optional service display name
LoglevelLog level: 0=Disabled, 1=Enabled, 2=Verbose, 3=Debug
PriorityPriority of the VM process: Idle, Below Normal, Normal, Above Normal, High

You should create/modify a configuration file before installing the service. And before that you should already have all your VMs created and configured using VirtualBox GUI or CLI.

Configuration of tray helper application is done via vboxctrltray.ini file. For each VirtualBox machine add a new section with a name of your choice and specify the location of vboxctrl.ini file with ConfigFile option. Refer to sample configuration file for details.


Place vboxctrl.exe and vboxctrl.ini in a folder of your choice.

To install a service run:

vboxctrl -i

To uninstall a service run:

vboxctrl -u

The name for the service to be installed is taken from the executable filename, while the display name (if given) is taken from a configuration file.

If you need to have several VMs to be controlled by the service make a copy of vboxctrl.exe and vboxctrl.ini with a different name, edit VmName/ShutdownCommand/ServiceName options and run:

vboxctrl_copy -i
vboxctrl_copy -u
to install or uninstall a new service.

Place vboxctrltray.exe and vboxctrltray.ini in a folder of your choice. Edit vboxctrltray.ini file to match services you have configured above.

Be sure to update all vboxctrl.exe executables and reinstall services if upgrading from previous version unless stated otherwise.

Principles of Operation and Limitations

Because VirtualBox is meant to be run under user account (with per-user configuration) in order to run it under SYSTEM account it would require you to run VirtualBox GUI and create virtual machines from that same SYSTEM account. Since it’s not very convenient to do so, an easy workaround would be to copy your .VirtualBox folder (%USERPROFILE%\.VirtualBox) to the SYSTEM profile folder (%SYSTEMROOT%\system32\config\systemprofile) after creating and configuring all virtual machines from GUI. Actually, the location of .VirtualBox folder is set by a user environment variable %VBOX_USER_HOME% and by overriding it for VirtualBox process running as a SYSTEM account you won’t even need to copy it. And this is exactly what this service does.

But because of some locking techniques in VirtualBox as soon as you start at least one virtual machine as a system service, any changes you make to configuration (like adding/renaming VMs) in the GUI/CLI (that was run as a user) will be unavailable to the service until all of the VMs have been shut down (powered off or saved state).

If you absolutely need to make changes while one or more VMs is running you would have to use psexec to run VirtualBox GUI or VBoxManage as a SYSTEM account. Moreover, you need to have at least one vboxctrl service running for having VBoxSVC started with %VBOX_USER_HOME% variable set.

For Windows XP/2003 that would simply be:

psexec -sdi "%VBOX_INSTALL_PATH%\VirtualBox.exe"

Windows Vista/2008 and Windows 7 introduced Session 0 Isolation, so the command is slightly different:

psexec -sd -i 0 "%VBOX_INSTALL_PATH%\VirtualBox.exe"
and then you need to click ‘Show me the message’ button in the interactive services detection dialog.

Note for Windows XP/2003 users. If a virtual machine takes too long to shutdown or save state Windows will just terminate it. How long is too long depends on a number of things, so if you see that VM doesn’t shut down cleanly you will have to stop the service manually before shutting down or restarting the system.

License and Credits

VirtualBox Control Service is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

VirtualBox Control Service is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

Icons from Silk icon set by Mark James were used in this program.


  • 0.5.2
    VirtualBox 5.2 support. Not backward compatible.
  • 0.5.1
    VirtualBox 5.1 support. Not backward compatible.
  • 0.5.0
    VirtualBox 5.0 support. Not backward compatible.
  • 0.4.7
    VirtualBox 4.3 support. Not backward compatible.
  • 0.4.6
    Fixed a bunch of bugs introduced with implementing event based UI updates.
  • 0.4.5
    Fixed VBOX_USER_HOME not being correctly set in some cases.
    A bit faster tray helper UI by using event based updates.
  • 0.4.4
    Configurable update check at startup. See vboxctrltray.ini.
  • 0.4.3
    VirtualBox 4.2 support. Not backward compatible.
  • 0.4.2
    VirtualBox 4.1 support. Not backward compatible.
  • 0.4.1
    Added an option to select one-time shutdown action from the tray helper menu;
    Added checking for updates.
  • 0.4.0
    VirtualBox 4.0 support. Not backward compatible.
  • 0.3.3
    Fixed yet another bug in communication between tray helper and service.
  • 0.3.2
    Fixed a bug in communication between tray helper and service (resulted in disabled VRDP console menu item);
    Fixed service installation procedure not setting correct permissions in localized version of Windows.
  • 0.3.1
    New feature: open VRDP console from tray helper;
    Fixed tray icon disappearing on explorer crash.
  • 0.3.0
    Added tray helper application to control vboxctrl services.
  • 0.2.1
    Updated to support VirtualBox 3.2.0 (for versions up to 3.1.8 use vboxctrl 0.2.0). Don’t forget to update vboxctrl.ini file to reflect possible VirtualBox installation path change if upgrading from 0.2.0.
  • 0.2.0
    Completly rewritten to use VirtualBox COM interface since during the shutdown we can’t rely on spawning a VBoxManage process. Now there are 2 separate builds for x86 and x64 architectures.
  • 0.1.1
    Fixed incorrect handling of shutdown signal.
  • 0.1
    First public release.


Version 0.5.2 (for VirtualBox 5.2.x):

32-bit: [74 KB] (sha1: 0d25f43284f476b803c1ee1c9a46d0ba331f84f6)
64-bit: [76 KB] (sha1: dab31f2a156b24a516f61b893903750131569ee0)
source: [265 KB] (sha1: 700b1d27e949dc6bcb5c30e5239820b935d39655)

Version 0.5.1 (for VirtualBox 5.1.x):

32-bit: [73.4 KB] (sha1: 18a47449f81fe1bdb00db2f4c7d86ec5aab31fe1)
64-bit: [75.9 KB] (sha1: 90668d16250536a86cb7db0d307151caf47e713f)
source: [257.1 KB] (sha1: 027a19193570dbe0cb8600a4f69f02f47feff086)

Version 0.5.0 (for VirtualBox 5.0.x):

32-bit: [72.7 KB] (sha1: bf01e8afa59ef8f0c1238fec3ae15744e1bfd42c)
64-bit: [75.2 KB] (sha1: 3d2d68feba7eff60a33b2a885e5b57fed7d764f4)
source: [199.3 KB] (sha1: e67cb20f58b4f3fb63ba6480b5f750b0b812c616)

Version 0.4.7 (for VirtualBox 4.3.x):

32-bit: [72.7 KB] (sha1: 8deb3caf754b5a5fadfd2e04d327fd10ac51020e)
64-bit: [75.2 KB] (sha1: 9fa88ced4b8f19278c345373226d6b892b37adde)
source: [199.3 KB] (sha1: 0211f8bca3489192aef2116aa724251f24ee8472)

Version 0.4.6 (for VirtualBox 4.2.x):

32-bit: [72.7 KB] (sha1: 369444b19b27cca0347e8d1a2220624144f15803)
64-bit: [75.2 KB] (sha1: 6b310fa072b99c37c0d0889e498ccca3e45a8183)
source: [199.3 KB] (sha1: ce4d26a23b5cb81b06bddede5ede4fa455b05d33)

Version 0.4.2 (for VirtualBox 4.1.x):

32-bit: [43.6 KB] (sha1: 87d7254851b320972c23f63ed1301c53e3212179)
64-bit: [46.0 KB] (sha1: 4305ee1d241cbfe0d00ea3bc560970f662aac989)
source: [197.6 KB] (sha1: 000746373121ecfcdf1dfc85207e6d75ea1c4a61)

Version 0.4.1 (for VirtualBox 4.0.x):

32-bit: [43.3 KB] (sha1: 67741ca0daab8d9900c6d314c6a1e25c7d96b9e8)
64-bit: [45.8 KB] (sha1: b01e371c569cd15969d0fc11b5e191dc48a63337)
source: [189.2 KB] (sha1: b3cbbfdb07e8b039460a29095fb923dade4f73fc)

Version 0.3.3 (for VirtualBox 3.2.x):

32-bit: [40.6 KB] (sha1: 68efbc4b17ec8b9c6783fb25c8315225b53546ec)
64-bit: [43.0 KB] (sha1: f55f281f3ea864aea5a7313928ae401118e54fd5)
source: [153.5 KB] (sha1: c0dd797dee86a46b8973db32cff93a8ebe001850)

Version 0.2.0 (for VirtualBox up to 3.1.8):

32-bit: [12.8 KB] (sha1: 04ea7a9c830e870f430639a12ed44c44e22873be)
64-bit: [14.6 KB] (sha1: 0cc3b8f011895d0218f739b24d161bc9a6e147aa)


Hans Eberhardt
2010-03-27 22:43:44

It would be nice to provide the source for the VBox users

2010-06-04 15:09:57

Version 0.3.0 is out. Sources available.

2010-04-24 17:38:09

Why does not show VirtualBox control panel, that a virtual machine is running?

This would be very important.

2010-04-28 09:47:14

Because of the same limitation of having to run control panel or vboxmanage as a system account user to modify virtual machine.

2010-04-24 17:49:10

At least there would be need a Windows Tray application, which shows state of the virtual machine, and I can start or stop it.

2010-06-04 15:10:55

Implemented in version 0.3.0 (built for VirtualBox 3.2.0+)

2010-04-29 11:18:03

The Vmware Server v1.x has a great advantage over VirtualBox, that it is able to run virtual machines as service.

When I close the VM control panel, the VMs are still running.

Also I can start the VMware Server Console (client), so I can see the state of the VM, also I can interact with the server through the server console.

BTW, I don’t like Vmware 2.x web based control panel.

If VirtualBox would have such features like Vmware 1.x, I would prefer it over Vmware.


– VirtualBox Server Console (client), so I can see the state of the VM (running as Windows Tray application would be a good idea)

2010-06-04 15:16:46

Implemented in version 0.3.0 (built for VirtualBox 3.2.0+)

2010-05-08 16:35:07

thanks your app works great :)

2010-05-24 09:39:13

Hello friend- Is there any support for VirtualBox 3.2?

2010-05-24 23:47:06

After upgrading to Virtualbox 3.2, when I attempt to start a previously working VM service, I get a MMC popup dialog with title bar “Services” and the message: “Windows could not start the VirtualBox VMname service on Local Computer. Error 1067: The process terminated unexpectedly.”

I hope this information helps everyone. This is a very good tool.

2010-05-25 07:29:12

Update coming soon. Thank you.

2010-05-25 09:33:26

Great, thank you. I forgot to mention too, that I also corrected the newly updated VirtualBox installation path in the config file- with the same result. Also tried installing new instances of services, after upgrading to 3.2- with the new path. Same result. (The new path being, as I am sure you are aware, in the Oracle directory instead of Sun) Thanks again.

2010-05-25 13:02:45

Updated to version 0.2.1. VirtualBox 3.2.0 now is a requirement. Use 0.2.0 for previous versions.

2010-05-27 11:58:00

Many thanks! But a problem… using version 0.2.1 with VirtualBox 3.2, I have the same problem as I described above. I have log level set to 1 in the config file, and the error I receive in the log is:

“[05/27/10 04:54:27] ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0x80004002)”

Is there any more information I can give you? This is x64 I should add- Win7 x64.

2010-05-27 12:37:19

Are you absolutely sure you’re using a new 0.2.1 version with VirtualBox 3.2.0? Just checked on a Win7 x64 myself and it works as expected. Be sure to stop all virtual machines, update all copies of vboxctrl if using more than one and restart vboxctrl service(s). Also make sure you’re using x64 build of vboxctrl.

2010-06-01 00:41:53

Actually, I believe I may have somehow not replaced the vboxctrl with the new version for that VM. All works well now- sorry for the confusion, thanks again for your efforts. And I too would appreciate source if you ever decide to release. Many thanks!

2010-06-04 15:17:52

Version 0.3.0 with tray helper application is out. Sources available.

2010-06-09 11:02:23

Thanks for the update! I have noticed something strange after updating to the latest VirtualBox release 3.2.4 r62467 (which was necessary to combat bugs with 3.2.2) I seem to have strange things going on when I stop the service for a VM with the tray helper. Here is a log excerpt:

[06/08/10 14:54:14] Service VirtualBox Ertner (Ertner) installed successfully.

[06/08/10 14:54:32] Starting VM ‘Ertner’

[06/08/10 14:54:32] VM ‘Ertner’ started

[06/09/10 01:28:01] Stopping (savestate) VM ‘Ertner’

[06/09/10 01:28:06] VM ‘Ertner’ stopped (savestate)

But then when I went to start the VM back up in the VirtualBox GUI, Windows had not been shut down properly. Experienced this 2 out of 2 times. Just a heads up for everyone….

2010-06-09 11:07:06

let me correct/clarify- Windows was in the state of having not been shut down properly. So it was as if the savestate setting was ignored, and poweroff was used instead.

2010-06-09 12:17:56

Are you saying this happens only when using tray helper to stop a VM (as opposed to doing so from service manager or by ‘net stop Ertner’)? And does saving state from VirtualBox GUI work as expected?

I don’t see any API changes from 3.2.2 to 3.2.4 and it does save state on my test systems (x86/x64) with 3.2.4.

If problem persists, provide your .ini files for both vboxctrl and vboxctrltray, and a debug log of the process (set Loglevel=3).

2010-06-09 21:21:50

I have not yet been able to reproduce the problem, but that is largely because of what I have discovered when taking steps to attempt to reproduce the problem. (Maybe this will help, as it is somewhat related.) What I notice now is that I am unable to start the VM via vboxctrl either with the tray helper or any other means such as Service Manager… IF the VM was not already in savedstate. In other words, vboxctrl will not cold boot a VM (I do not recall ever attempting this with previous versions of vboxctrl or VirtualBox so I am not sure if it is a new problem)

However if I go back into VirtualBox GUI and start up the VM and then close the VM with the savestate option (again, with the VirtualBox GUI), then vboxctrl (and tray helper app) has no problems after that. (until I again attempt to use vboxctrl to manage the VM while not in savedstate)

——- START VM from savedstate using vboxctrl (any method- tray helper, Service Manager, etc.) ———–

[06/09/10 14:00:05] VirtualBox Control Service v0.3.0.79 (x64) started

[06/09/10 14:00:05] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[06/09/10 14:00:05] VirtualBox Interface v3.2.4 initialized

[06/09/10 14:00:05] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: C:\users\UserName\.VirtualBox

[06/09/10 14:00:05] Starting VM ‘Ertner’

[06/09/10 14:00:05] VM ‘Ertner’ started

——- STOP VM (in this case with tray helper) ———–

[06/09/10 14:00:32] Stopping (savestate) VM ‘Ertner’

[06/09/10 14:00:35] VM ‘Ertner’ stopped (savestate)

——- Next I stopped the VM using tray helper, successfully saving state ——-

——- Then using VirtualBox GUI resume state ——-

——- Then shut down the VM properly (in this case Windows x64 guest) ——-

——- Lastly, attempt to START previously shut down VM using any method for vboxctrl ——-

[06/09/10 14:02:00] VirtualBox Control Service v0.3.0.79 (x64) started

[06/09/10 14:02:00] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[06/09/10 14:02:00] VirtualBox Interface v3.2.4 initialized

[06/09/10 14:02:00] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: C:\users\UserName\.VirtualBox

[06/09/10 14:02:00] Starting VM ‘Ertner’

[06/09/10 14:02:00] VM ‘Ertner’ started

[06/09/10 14:02:00] VM ‘Ertner’ was terminated abnormally (0x00000001)

2010-06-09 21:43:18

One more thing. When you attempt to cold boot a VM with a vboxctrl service, do you have VirtualBox GUI running?

Also, “was terminated abnormally (0×00000001)” means vboxctrl crashed. So there’s a good chance there will be something useful in the Event Log. Have a look, please.

Anyway, thanks for the info. Will look into this.

2010-06-09 22:04:26

I just closed VirtualBox GUI before re-attempting, but the results were the same. Probably always had it open the previous attempts.

In the System event log I presently have only 2 VirtualBox / vboxctrl related messages for these failed attempts to start a savedstate VM using vboxctrl:

-The VirtualBox Ertner service entered the stopped state.

-The VirtualBox Ertner service entered the running state.

Both within the same second.

Yesterday I experienced some strange errors, but I have no way to explain to you the state of things at the time because it was a weird combination of VirtualBox bugs and upgrades and multiple revisions of 3.2.4, renaming VMs, and who knows what else. I don’t want to confuse the current issue, and I don’t think the problems were related (in fact I believe they were fixed when I upgraded to the final 3.2.4 revision) but in case they may be of benefit, here they are from the system event log:

-The VirtualBox Ertner service is marked as an interactive service. However, the system is configured to not allow interactive services. This service may not function properly.

-The VirtualBox Ertner service terminated with service-specific error %%-2139095039.

But again, I no longer receive these, I believe after upgrading to the final 3.2.4 revision.

Glad to help- your efforts just about make VirtualBox usable for what I need it for…. if only I could count on not losing an entire VM and snapshot tree when the GUI crashes when adding a comment to a new snapshot.

2010-06-09 22:27:38

ok, a quick look shows me that a most probable problem is actually running both GUI and vboxctrl at the same time. Moreover, it doesn’t really have to be at the same time, because for each process (user actually) that interacts with VirtualBox, VBoxSVC is run to supply the interface for this interaction. And after closing VirtualBox GUI / vboxctrl this service doesn’t shut down immediately (or sometimes never). And that might result in those possible locking problems I was talking about in the Principles of Operation and Limitations section above.

For example, now, after a few experiments I have a machine that I can successfully start/stop/save state with vboxctrl, but VirtualBox GUI shows its state as Aborted even after stopping all vboxctrl services and restarting GUI. After waiting for like 5 minutes maybe, I started GUI once again, and this machine was in a saved state, just like vboxctrl left it. As a last resort, system restart helps to get rid of any VBoxSVC that got stuck.

vboxctrl wasn’t made with an intention to be used along with VirtualBox GUI actually. The main idea is to set up all VMs forget about GUI and just use those vboxctrl services to start and stop machines with the host (say, a virtual router is definitely needs to be run this way). Personally, I don’t even need a tray helper in my scenario. Writing a whole new service-wise VirtualBox GUI isn’t something I was planning to do, just a temporary measure until Sun/Oracle makes one themselves. And I sure hope they do that some day.

As to event log errors, it seems that Interactive Services Detection service prevents vboxctrl service to start. Check if you have it running. If you do, stop it, set start type to Manual and reinstall vboxctrl services. Will add that to the readme, actually.

And again, let me repeat myself: “If you absolutely need to make changes while one or more VMs is running you would have to use psexec to run VirtualBox GUI or VBoxManage as a SYSTEM account. Moreover, you need to have at least one vboxctrl service running for having VBoxSVC started with %VBOX_USER_HOME% variable set”. See Principles of Operation and Limitations section in readme/top of this page.

2010-06-07 01:25:06

You are great!

Tray helper application is exactly what I wanted.

Thanks very much!

2010-06-09 12:25:25

You are a Legend!, keep up the good work ! :D

2010-06-11 17:00:43


Love the concept, but I am having trouble getting it to work. When I attempt to start the service I get this error: -2139095039.

Thanks so much for your work.


2010-06-11 17:09:04

Set loglevel to 3 in vboxctrl.ini file. Reinstall the service, try to start it and show me the log file.

2010-06-11 17:30:06

Here is the log file:

[06/11/10 11:19:33] Service VirtualBox IRVM0080 (IRVM0080) uninstalled successfully.

[06/11/10 11:24:42] Service VirtualBox IRVM0080 (IRVM0080) installed successfully.

[06/11/10 11:26:03] VirtualBox Control Service v0.3.0.79 started

[06/11/10 11:26:03] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[06/11/10 11:26:04] VirtualBox Interface v3.2.4 initialized

[06/11/10 11:26:04] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: C:\users\George\.VirtualBox

[06/11/10 11:26:04] ERROR: Could not find registered VM ‘IRVM0080’

Here is my .ini file:


VboxInstallPath=C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox




ServiceName=VirtualBox IRVM0080



2010-06-11 17:32:31

Oh yeah, I meant to tell you that I did a reboot between the un-install and re-install. Just in case that matters.

2010-06-11 17:36:42

no, reboot is not needed

2010-06-11 17:35:08

There you go:

ERROR: Could not find registered VM ‘IRVM0080′

Either the name of the virtual machine is wrong (VmName should be set to name you gave the machine in VirtualBox GUI), or you didn’t close VirtualBox GUI after creating the machine. Read the post/readme: “But because of some locking techniques in VirtualBox as soon as you start at least one virtual machine as a system service, any changes you make to configuration (like adding/renaming VMs) in the GUI/CLI (that was run as a user) will be unavailable to the service until all of the VMs have been shut down (powered off or saved state).”

2010-06-11 17:51:53

Doh! I just figured it out. There is no such path as *\users\* in Windows XP. I feel like such a dope!

Thanks for helping! It is really great that you actually help people. Most of the time I don’t even get a reply from developers, much less any actually help.

2010-06-11 17:55:25

Set VboxUserHome= to C:\Documents and Settings\George\.VirtualBox. Works perfectly now.

2010-06-11 18:34:58

Thanks for the feedback. I believe I should have used ‘Documents and Settings’ in the example configuration file as Vista/7 have it linked to ‘Users’ folder. Will change that in the next update.

2010-07-02 23:52:27

I can’t get the ‘savestate’ feature to work. Everything else works as expected. When I shutdown the service, the Vbox powers off completely. When I startup the VBox again, it does a cold boot. The logs are clean. I shutdown either from service console, command prompt, or tray. Always a cold boot on restart.

I am using the latest version of both your software and VirtualBox (3.2.6). Running Windows 7 x64.

As I said, everything but this piece works great.

Very nice application though. I enjoy the simplicity better than the alternatives out there, and the system tray is really nice. Thanks!

2010-07-03 00:27:49

Please, set Loglevel=3 in the vboxctrl.ini, stop all vboxctrl services and delete the log file, close VirtualBox GUI and wait for 30 seconds (or better yet restart your computer, as I’ve seen VBoxSvc just hang). Then start your virtual machine and wait until it gets up and running and stop vboxctrl service with Service Control Manager. Then show me the output of the log (you can replace your username in log output with something if you want).

2010-07-13 18:41:48

Figured it out. The Problem was not with your software at all. A failed update of 3.2.6 from 3.2.4 had several orphaned files and processes. A reboot did not fix the issue as the components were still installed and the software itself (VirtualBox) ran just fine with the mix of 3.2.4 and 3.2.6 pieces. Completely removed 3.2.4, rebooted, installed 3.2.6 from scratch, and now everything works as expected.

So, for the record, your product works flawlessly with Windows 7 x64 with VirtualBox 3.2.6


2010-07-24 23:39:11

Thanks for a great tool. Appreciated!

One question: How can I enable the VRDP Console option?

Thanks again!

Windows 7 Pro x64

VirtualBox 3.2.6

2010-07-25 11:04:14

In the virtual machine settings, Display -> Remote Display tab -> Enable Server

Surely you need a unique port for each virtual machine.

2010-07-25 17:17:32

Hi Vu1tur, thanks for a quick response. I do already have RDP enabled on the VM that is running and can access it using standard RDP client on a non-standard port, however, when I access the VM options using the vboxctrl tray helper, the option for VRDP Console is grayed out. Otherwise starting/stopping/restarting the service and VM all work fine. Not sure what to do at this point. Thanks again for your assistance.

2010-07-25 20:30:34

Probably another case of locking issues. Stop all of your virtual machines, exit VirtualBox GUI, wait for 30 seconds and start a virtual machine from the vboxctrl tray helper. When it’s up and running VRDP console menu should be enabled.

2010-08-14 07:09:47

We have the same issue – vrdp is greyed out in the tray helper – this is even after rebooting the host and having just vboxctrl start the guests. We can still use remote desktop client to remote into each guest’s vrdp port though.

2010-08-14 22:42:00

Would you please delete the log file, set LogLevel=3, start the virtual machine from tray helper, wait a bit for it to start and open the tray helper context menu once again. Then show me that log file, vboxctrl.ini config and the versions of the host OS, vboxctrl.exe and vboxctrltray.exe (File version in file properties).

2010-08-14 23:49:25

vboxctrl.exe , vboxctrltray.exe , Windows 7 Home Premium x64



VboxInstallPath=G:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox

VboxUserHome=C:\Documents and Settings\staff\.VirtualBox



ServiceName=VirtualBox pta-vm1




[08/14/10 14:42:20] Stopping (savestate) VM ‘pta-vm1’

[08/14/10 14:42:53] VM ‘pta-vm1’ stopped (savestate)

[08/14/10 14:42:53] Closing VirtualBox interface

[08/14/10 14:43:51] VirtualBox Control Service v0.3.1.88 (x64) started

[08/14/10 14:43:51] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[08/14/10 14:43:53] VirtualBox Interface v3.2.6 initialized

[08/14/10 14:43:53] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: C:\Documents and Settings\staff\.VirtualBox

[08/14/10 14:43:53] Starting VM ‘pta-vm1’

[08/14/10 14:43:53] VM ‘pta-vm1’ started

2010-08-15 11:11:55

ok, got that, thank you. Will fix that.

As a temporary measure, use the names of the virtual machines (VmName parameter in vboxctrl.ini) as a section names in vboxctrltray.ini

Your vboxctrltray.ini should look like this:



2010-08-15 19:06:42

Excellent, thanks. We really like the control tray , very handy. One idea for future release – maybe allow multiple VM’s to be configured under one server with one vboxctrl.ini file. But they still could be individually controlled with the control tray…

2011-06-21 09:08:44

We just installed vboxctrl on a new machine – vrdp console is not greyed out however nothing happens when we click on it. Does remote desktop have to be disabled on the vm machine (windows 7 pro) for vrdp to work?

2011-06-21 09:16:43

No, but you do have to use a unique port for VRDP.

2011-06-21 18:05:29

We have remote display enabled and set to port 5000. Nothing happens at all wehn we click on vdrp console from the vboxctrl tray icon – should a window popup at least? Thx!

2011-06-21 18:32:40

I am going to try this fix listed here (and also try disabling any firewalls if that doesn’t work):

2010-08-13 22:00:02

Stupid question – but is the tray helper supposed to start automatically with the service or do we need to execute it manually after login? Everything is working great except we don’t have a tray helper icon – win7 home x64 host.


2010-08-14 00:15:50

No, it isn’t. Tray helper should be started manually or autostarted with Windows (‘Autostart on logon’ in the context menu).

2010-08-26 18:58:23

Is there any hope to bring this with VirtualBox version 1.5.6(!) on Windows 2000 Pro(!) system working?

For any help i would be very appreciated.

2010-08-26 19:51:34

Is there any reason why you’re using that old version of VirtualBox?

2010-08-27 00:02:53

This is the last version of virtualbox which is supported by Windows 2000. Of course i do not use this OS by choice too, this is what i could get my hands on. Even if i know this Windows version is doomed it is tied with the PC and it has to hang on a “little” bit longer, because of some kind of world crisis. This all is not easy to fix.

2010-08-27 00:21:34

Well, that ain’t gonna be easy, if possible. I will have a look when I get a free ‘minute’.

2010-08-27 10:49:50

I can only say thanks in advance and provide with a status report

OS: Windows 2000 SP4 (with all patches available)

VirtualBox version 1.5.6

VboxCtrl Version 0.2.0

ini file:


VboxInstallPath=c:\Programme\innotek VirtualBox\

VboxUserHome=c:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\SYSTEM\.VirtualBox\






VBOX_USER_HOME=c:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\SYSTEM\.VirtualBox\

all files moved from user account at this place (machine(s) work just fine form gui)

log file:

[08/27/10 09:14:47] Service VBocCtrl_Test1 (vboxctrl) installed successfully.

[08/27/10 09:14:56] ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0x80004005)

[08/27/10 09:15:19] ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0x80004005)

I can register and unregister the service just fine, but as soon i try to start this Service i get a error message ‘Error in Application’ ‘Instruction in 0x00401904″ point to memory 0x00000000’ and a entry in the log

file. Do you know what the error code mean?

I could not resit and had a brief look in the 0.3.1 source code, but have allready trouble to find out which IDE and compiler is used for this project. I have only some very basic knowlege about ‘c’. Maybe you could provide the info how to handle and hwo to compile this project. Hardly i could do the changes myself, but maybe another one can easly add something to this project.

2010-08-27 11:05:04

Don’t even bother trying any version of vboxctrl with VirtualBox 1.5.6. Not going to work.

2010-10-15 12:31:05

I got it to work, but the vboxheadless process caused 100% cpu load at the beginning and around 50% after some minutes. The machine is an Intel Xeon 3GHz, 8gb RAM, Windows 2008 Server, 64bit. Same problem with VBoxVmService (

2010-10-27 01:19:23

this tool has made it really practical to run multiple machines on a single instance of Windows. The only problem I’m currently having is how to make a backup. I would like to be able to shut down the virtual machines, copy all of them to a callback directory, then turn the machines back on. What’s the best way to do this? Using the virtual box tools or something else?


2011-03-14 15:41:20


I’m sucessfully using vboxctrl to start my VM as a service.

I have encountered one (small) problem and I don’t know whether it’s vboxctrl’s fault or VirtualBox’s one:

Everytime the service stops, I’m seeing this in vboxctrl logfile:

[03/15/11 03:06:42] Stopping (acpipowerbutton) VM ‘winxp’

[03/15/11 03:06:42] VM ‘winxp’ was sent a stop signal (acpipowerbutton)

[03/15/11 03:06:47] VM ‘winxp’ was terminated abnormally while stopping (0x000000ff)

The host os is Windows Server 2008 R2 x64

The VirtualBox is v4.0.4

The guest os is Windows XP SP2

Any hints?

2011-03-14 15:55:43

Does this vm power off successfully? You can observe the shutdown process with VRDP console. If it does, you may ignore that log message.

2011-03-26 05:25:54

everything was running fine until I had a power failure. now, the other three virtual machines startup just fine but the first one fails with this error. Any ideas?

[03/25/11 15:19:51] VirtualBox Control Service v0.3.1.88 (x64) started

[03/25/11 15:19:51] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[03/25/11 15:19:51] VirtualBox Interface v3.2.8 initialized

[03/25/11 15:19:51] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: C:\Users\Remote\.VirtualBox

[03/25/11 15:19:51] Starting VM ‘xp-1’

[03/25/11 15:19:51] VM ‘xp-1’ started

[03/25/11 15:19:52] VM ‘xp-1’ was terminated abnormally (0x00000001)

[03/25/11 15:19:52] Closing VirtualBox interface

2011-03-26 08:21:06

For starters, there’s a newer version of vboxctrl available for you version of VirtualBox.

But anyway, you should try to start this machine from VirtualBox GUI to see the error message, since I don’t believe it has something to do with vboxctrl.

2011-04-08 03:31:13

I’m lost. Can’t get it to work on Windows 7 64-bit. I tried both 32 and 64-bit downloads.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

This is what I get in a log:

[04/07/11 20:28:38] Service VirtualBoxC180 (vboxctrl) installed successfully.

[04/07/11 20:29:00] VirtualBox Control Service v0.4.1.112 started

[04/07/11 20:29:00] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[04/07/11 20:29:01] VirtualBox Interface v4.0.4 initialized

[04/07/11 20:29:01] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: C:\Documents and Settings\Peter\.VirtualBox

[04/07/11 20:29:01] ERROR creating session instance (0x80040154)

[04/07/11 20:29:01] Starting VM ‘core180’

[04/07/11 20:29:01] VM ‘core180’ started

[04/07/11 20:29:01] VM ‘core180’ stopped by itself

[04/07/11 20:29:01] Closing VirtualBox interface

My .ini file is:


VboxInstallPath=C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox

VboxUserHome=C:\Documents and Settings\Peter\.VirtualBox






2011-04-08 08:48:32

You must use vboxctrl64 build for Windows 7 x64. And the log you provided seems to be from 32-bit.

2011-04-08 21:55:41

Hi, I tried both…

Here’s output from 64bit version of program:

[04/08/11 14:52:18] Service vboxCore180 (vboxctrl64) installed successfully.

[04/08/11 14:52:42] VirtualBox Control Service v0.4.1.112 (x64) started

[04/08/11 14:52:42] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[04/08/11 14:52:42] VirtualBox Interface v4.0.4 initialized

[04/08/11 14:52:42] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: C:\users\peter\.VirtualBox

[04/08/11 14:52:42] Starting VM ‘core180’

[04/08/11 14:52:42] VM ‘core180’ started

[04/08/11 14:52:43] VM ‘core180’ stopped by itself

[04/08/11 14:52:43] Closing VirtualBox interface

Also the version of VirtualBox I’m using is 4.0.4 r70112.

2011-04-08 22:43:12

Does this vm start with VirtualBox GUI? With log output like that it usually doesn’t. Try to start it with VirtualBox GUI (purge the saved state if any) then stop, exit VirtualBox GUI, wait for at least 10 seconds and try to start the machine from vboxctrltray/service manager.

2011-04-08 23:04:01

Yes, VM starts clean in the GUI. Still no luck even with vboxctrltray.

Thanks for the help, but for some reason the same config works great on VirtualBox 4.0.2.

Bottom line is, you created a great tool and filled a gap for missing functionality.

2011-04-08 23:58:23

That’s weird. Would you please have a look in the event log for VirtualBox related errors when it didn’t start from vboxctrl? There might be something useful, I hope.

2011-05-20 03:12:46

i had been using MS Hyper-V, but my databases (MS-SQL and PostgreSql, running on 2 different VM) are not not very fast (even t hough i have an 8 core, 18 gb memory, 3.6 ghz cpu, with VM on solid state drive) … so i am in the process of switching to Virtual Box to run my VM data servers … i love your program to allow it to run as a service, so even if the power is lost, the services run upon re-starting the host machine …. how do we “open” up the running VM to work on it ? …. i am sure there is a way, i just don’t know how … please advise …. thanks

2011-05-21 10:34:01

you should setup VRDP for your VMs and then use ‘VRDP Console’ menu item from vboxctrl tray helper

2011-05-21 14:58:20

i have RDP enabled in the VM … but the VRDP option is grayed out in the system tray … is there a special setting within the VM to allow this to function properly ? …. please advise …. thank you …

2011-05-21 15:08:55

You might be confusing RDP and VRDP here. You need to enable Remote Display in VM settings → Display → Remote Display → Enable Server. And configure a unique port to use for every VM (not 3389, since it might be used for the host). Then, when you start the machine from vboxctrl tray helper you will get VRDP Console menu option available. Also keep in mind locking issues, so the best way is to stop all VMs, wait 10 seconds, run VirtualBox GUI, configure virtual machines, close VirtualBox GUI, wait another 10 seconds and you are good to go.

2011-05-20 03:44:32

three ways:

1) shut down from system tray application, restart using virtual box control panel

2) set up remote console port and enable remote console. Restart virtual machine, use remote console tool

3) use remote desktop tool on guest such as go to my PC or cross-link.

There is no advantage to using something like the VNC on the guest itself because if you use a remote console service, you get the same effect

2011-05-30 19:03:47

Can you attach/detach a DVD (image or host DVD drive) to a running VM which was started by the VirtualBox Control Service?

2011-05-30 19:23:19

No, you can’t.

2011-05-30 19:29:31

Meaning you can’t do that with vboxctrl tray helper. But you can use vboxmanage.exe to acomplish that. Just remember to run it using psexec.

2011-05-30 21:02:41

Thank you. Yes, it works using psexec and vboxmanage, but it is not very convenient. I didn’t find a single line command which does it. Instead I had to write a wrapper script:

set VBOX_USER_HOME=C:\Users\Max\.VirtualBox

“%VBOX_INSTALL_PATH%\vboxmanage” storageattach “name-of-vm” –storagectl IDE-Controller –port 1 –device 0 –type dvddrive –medium %1

which I can then invoke with psexec from an elevanted cmd shell to attach or detach the DVD:

psexec -s -i 0 C:\Users\Max\.VirtualBox\attach-dvd.cmd “filename-of-dvd.iso”

psexec -s -i 0 C:\Users\Max\.VirtualBox\attach-dvd.cmd emptydrive

The easier way is probably to stop the VM using vboxctrl, then attach the DVD through VirtualBox as normal user, and then restart the VM with vboxctrl.

2011-06-08 20:03:23

[06/09/11 02:00:29] VirtualBox Control Service v0.3.3.99 started

[06/09/11 02:00:29] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[06/09/11 02:00:31] VirtualBox Interface v3.2.12 initialized

[06/09/11 02:00:31] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: E:\1111\xfmb\Virtual.Box.v3.2.12R68302\.VirtualBox

[06/09/11 02:00:31] ERROR: Could not find registered VM ‘Windows.XP.Professional’

[06/09/11 02:00:31] Closing VirtualBox interface

2011-06-08 21:05:49

Is there a reason you’re not using VirtuxlBox 4?

Anyway, either you misspelled the vm name in the config, or you didn’t close VirtualBox GUI after creating the vm if you were creating it by the user account. Just reboot the host to be sure.

2011-07-20 22:40:12

After upgrading to VirtualBox 4.1.0 the service cannot be started up (error code 1067).

Log says:

00:00:05.491 main ERROR [COM]: aRC=VBOX_E_OBJECT_IN_USE (0x80bb000c) aIID={53f9cc0c-e0fd-40a5-a404-a7a5272082cd} aComponent={Medium} aText={Medium ‘D:\Virtual Machines\Ubuntu.vdi’ cannot be closed because it is still attached to 1 virtual machines}, preserve=false

When launching VM from GUI everything’s OK.

2011-07-21 20:39:08

Update to vboxctrl 0.4.2, please

2011-07-21 21:01:05

Yes, it’s working! Thanks a lot!

2011-09-02 23:46:32

Without any possible reason every time I try to start virtual machine with tray icon it gives me an “ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0x80004002)”. I can start and use machine in the VirtualBox itself without any issues. I run vboxctrl 0.4.2 Any ideas?

2011-09-02 23:52:33

Make sure you are using correct version of vboxctrl. Version 4.2 is for VirtualBox 4.1.x It is not backward compatible.

2011-09-07 19:24:19

Hi Vu1tur,

I’ld like to thank you for your tool. I know about 6 different ways to auto start VirtualBox on Windows Hosts, only a few as a service, but they are awkward or buggy (VBoxVmService is nice but very very buggy installation process and fails with spaces on paths; only by browsing the code can one understand what’s happening).

And, needless is to say that such tool should obviously be provided by Oracle / Sun / VirtualBox ! It’s actually embarrasing that they have a Virtualization solution that does not start at boot time!! almost a joke…

With VBoxCtrl, it was download and install under 3 minutes. (running debian on VBox 4.1.2 under Windows 7 64 and Windows 2003 Server)

Well done!

You should accept paypal donations ! How can we pay you back?



2011-09-07 21:29:50


Well, thank you kindly. And yes, Oracle is definitely the one who should be providing this functionality. Although, seeing how different workstation and server versions of other virtualization platforms are, I think there’s more to it then just starting a VM as a service.

As to donations, seeing my work being useful and appreciated is good enough for me. And Paypal does not provide payment receiving in my country anyway :)

Anthony Field
2011-11-07 04:30:15

Having Issues using this software <:)

I have a vbox called EFTPOS Server XP PRO located at D:\BACKUP – DONT USE – EFTPOS Server XP PRO\BACKUP – DONT USE – EFTPOS Server XP PRO.vbox

I have configured like so:


VboxInstallPath=C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox




ServiceName=VirtualBox EFTPOS



I start the Service using vboxctrl64.exe -i

I then Open the Vboxctrltray.exe ( I can then see a icon near the clock )

I right click, then select the Vbox Machine, then click start. Although It does not work.

I get this error in the vboxctrl64.log.,…

[11/07/11 13:29:22] ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0x80004002)

?? Any idea's ??

2011-11-07 07:48:40

First of all, you should set your VboxUserHome option to C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\.VirtualBox

And then make sure you are using 64-bit host OS and a correct version of vboxctrl service.

2012-02-01 13:31:41

Where is the “donate with PayPal” button? You save my day, thank you!

ps. works perfectly on Windows Web Server 2008 R2 SP1

2012-02-01 16:46:13

I’ve tried too! But there is no paypal in Russia(?).

Would this work? ? Costs $33 to send $25… :)

2012-02-06 21:36:03

Works perfectly. Setting the .ini files to use %VBOX_INSTALL_PATH% & %VBOX_USER_HOME% didn’t work and the system event log didn’t make sense at all. I was almost going to give up.

But then tried to specify actual path in the ini files instead of environment variables and (also after setting the environment variables above did a reboot). It worked like a charm.

2012-02-07 09:31:46

Oh, yes, environment variables are not handled in the config file. Sorry for the confusion. Glad you worked it out.

2012-02-16 21:15:20

Didn’t mean to complain. Just thought of documenting it for your subscribers sake.

2012-02-16 18:28:45

Works flawlessly on 64-bit Windows 7.


2012-03-11 13:17:54

Yay, it wors perfectly under Win 2008R2 Foundation too.

Thank you for the fine work, vu1tur! :)

2012-04-10 21:53:07

What about 4.1.8 and major versions of VirtualBox support?

Has tryed fresh and had to downgrade to 4.1.6 as working one with vboxctrl 0.4.2.

4.1.12 OVB has already released and I can’t upgrade hypervisor. It’s sad.

2012-04-10 22:21:28

Both 4.1.8 and 4.1.12 work just fine with vboxctrl 0.4.2.

There are probably some other issues (other than version mismatch) if you can’t get it working. You should provide some debug logging to have a look at.

2012-04-11 07:53:43

4.1.6 VM service starts fine.

4.1.12 VM log: [04/10/12 23:04:56] VM ‘vm1.1’ was terminated abnormally (0x00000001)

config for vboxctrl:


VboxInstallPath=C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox




ServiceName=VirtualBox vm1



used versions:

Windows7 64bit sp1


Difference is only in version of oracle virtualbox.

2012-04-11 10:03:43

‘VM was terminated abnormally’ means that the virtual machine itself didn’t start correctly. You should inspect Event Log for errors from VritualBox. Also, you need to make sure you can start the VM from the VirtualBox GUI. The problem might be simple like missing extension pack update.

2012-04-11 15:03:38

It is really problem in the virtual machine. It crashes in GUI. I just tested another one in major versions of OVB and it was working, but VM, wich I start from vboxctrl, really doesn’t work in GUI too. Many thanks for advice.

2012-09-15 09:19:28

To prevent a disappointing experience – does VBoxCtrl 0.4.2 work with VirtualBox 4.2, or should I wait with the installation of that until a new VBoxCtrl comes up?

Thank you,


2012-09-15 17:39:24

You should wait for the new version of vboxctrl. Version 0.4.2 will not work with VirtualBox 4.2.

2012-09-15 21:42:08

Updated to 0.4.3 for VirtualBox 0.4.2 support

2012-09-24 15:01:52


First of all thank you very much for your software!

I have a problem.

I set up port forwarding on my virtual machine. (eg ssh, № 22)

If i run VirtualBox as a regular user, the access to the virtual machine from the LAN is present. But if i start with vboxctrl, then access to the virtual machine from the LAN is no present. From host machine, the access is always there. You can help me? Thank you

2012-09-24 16:53:19

How is port forwarding set up?

How are you connecting to the sshd from lan/host?

Just tested your setup, everything works fine from both VirtualBox GUI and vboxctrltray.

Also, you might be making the usual mistake everyone seems to be making at some point. You might have VirtualBox GUI (or other virtualbox machine instance) running while you make changes to port forwarding settings and starting the machine with vboxctrltray. The correct way is: start VirtualBox GUI, make some adjustments to VMs, stop _all_ VMs, exit VirtualBox GUI, wait at least 10 seconds (until all VboxSVC processes die) and only then you should start your VMs with vboxctrltray.

2012-09-24 20:12:07

Port forwarding set up with VirtualBox GUI. This is working because access from host is present.

Connected from host to VM: ssh://

Connected from LAN to VM: ssh:// – IP computer (not VM)

I think that the problem is not in the settings of VM.

Problem in configuring OS (WinXP SP3), which blocks incoming connections from the network for system processes.

In a firewall exception added.

2012-09-24 20:22:38

I tried to disable firewall at all and it worked :)

In the firewall is automatically added VirtualBox.exe – this GUI Manager

Empirically (adding exceptions) found that the process works through VboxHeadless.exe, added it to the firewall exceptions.

Thanks for the help :) Maybe add this in the documentation, or at least indicate that the program uses VboxHeadless?

Thank you again for your program, all you good!

2012-09-24 22:45:48

Oh, glad you worked it out.

Thanks for reporting that issue.

2012-09-24 15:48:29

@Vitaliy – Makesure your vboxctrl service has required access rights. One workaround is to run the service as a regular user (for which you said it worked).

2012-09-24 16:03:43

Yes, but vboxctrl runs as a system service, and I do not see where this can be changed…

2012-09-24 16:11:38

1) Start->Run… type services.msc and press enter

2) Go to your desired service and right click -> choose “Properties”

3) Go to the tab “Log On”

4) Instead of “Local System account” choose the radio button “This account” and enter your user name etc.

2012-09-24 16:46:07

Ohh, thank you very much. You’ve been very helpful.

2012-09-25 22:22:45

Great piece of software – thanks!

However, I have one problem: the service does not start with computer boot. It tells so in the overview, but the virtual machine isn’t running. Restarting the service starts the virtual machine. It is also possible to start/stop the machine via the tray.

Do you know my configuration mistake?

2012-09-25 23:43:17

Is service configured for autostart? (This can be checked either in service control mananger or vboxctrltray)

If yes, set loglevel=2 in vboxctrl.ini file, restart and show me the log output

2012-09-26 22:35:05

It was configured for autostart. I disabled autostart, rebooted, enabled autostart again, rebooted again and now it works like a charm.

Thanks again.

2012-09-30 02:23:09

How can you disable the update check? I’m running VirtualBox 4.1 (which only works with 0.4.2 of VBOXCTRL), however everytime it starts it wants to update which will break VBOXCTRL since they are not backward compatible. Is there any way to disable the update check?


2012-09-30 10:55:43

Thanks for pointing that out.

Grab this version of vboxctrltray and set UpdateCheck=0 in [global] section of vboxctrltray.ini

Also, you could just update vboxctrltray application to 0.4.3 leaving vboxctrl executable from 0.4.2.

2012-10-11 11:22:27

Thank you for your work !

But with this configuration :


VboxInstallPath=C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox




ServiceName=VirtualBox MyVM



I have this result :

[10/11/12 10:05:24] VirtualBox Control Service v0.4.4.120 (x64) started

[10/11/12 10:05:24] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[10/11/12 10:05:31] VirtualBox Interface v4.2.0 initialized

[10/11/12 10:05:31] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile/.VirtualBox

[10/11/12 10:05:31] ERROR: Could not find registered VM ‘MyVM’

[10/11/12 10:05:31] Closing VirtualBox interface

Why VBOX_USER_HOME is “C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile/.VirtualBox” instead of “C:\Users\john\.VirtualBox” ?

Thank you !

2012-10-11 12:16:34

Is your service configured to run as Local System Account? Because it should.

2012-10-11 16:59:37

No, i have the same user that i used to configure my VM.

2012-10-11 17:14:52

The service _should_ be configured to run as Local System Account. A suggestion made above is wrong.

2012-10-11 17:23:49

I had made this and got the same error.

So, i have added the user in local admin group.

Now i have :

[10/11/12 16:16:50] VirtualBox Control Service v0.4.4.120 (x64) started

[10/11/12 16:16:50] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[10/11/12 16:17:21] ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0x80080005)

Precision : the user is a domain user.

With VBCS for VBox 4.1.x, my VM was ok.

2012-10-11 17:33:04

The last error probably indicates that you have VirtualBox GUI running. You need to exit all instances (make sure no VBoxSVC process is running, reboot/kill otherwise) and only then try to start the service. Also make sure you have ‘Allow service to interact with desktop’ checked when you reverted ‘Log on as’ to Local System account.

And yes, Oracle did made some changes with 4.2. The most annoying is not being able to run VirtualBox GUI as a user at all when vboxctrl service is started. Haven’t found a workaround yet.

2012-10-11 17:40:58

YES !!!

It’s ok !

I had GUI opened. Now, it works like a charm !

Thank you for your patience !!

2012-10-11 17:34:27

I have create a local user (not in domain) with admin right and copy .VirtualBox in his profil directory.

Same error :

[10/11/12 16:33:36] VirtualBox Control Service v0.4.4.120 (x64) started

[10/11/12 16:33:36] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[10/11/12 16:33:37] VirtualBox Interface v4.2.0 initialized

[10/11/12 16:33:37] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile/.VirtualBox

[10/11/12 16:33:37] ERROR: Could not find registered VM ‘MyVM’

[10/11/12 16:33:37] Closing VirtualBox interface

2012-11-27 13:02:59

Been trying for a while to start/stop my VirtualBox VMs when the Windows 7 x64 host starts/shuts down. Scheduled tasks failed, group policy startup/shutdown and login/logoff also failed.

Because the main VirtualBox GUI does not work with this I can’t tell if the VMs shut down gracefully on host shutdown, but they are ready as soon as I start my host which is the most important thing for me!

A job well done! Thanks vu1tur!


2012-12-04 23:54:44

Unfortunately, things have gone worse on my setup (Windows Server 2003 R2, 32bit).

V0.4.2 together with VirtualBox 4.1 was the last that really worked correctly on my system. I didn’t try V0.4.3/VBox 4.2 but skipped to V0.4.4/VBox 4.2 instead.

With V0.4.4, I have the “funny” effect that the Service Control Manager always reports an error upon system start (Service not started) – although the vboxctrl service IS started and running correctly. The vboxctrl log file doesn’t show any problems either.

With V0.4.5, however, it doesn’t start at all. Here’s an excerpt from the log file:

[12/04/12 21:50:28] Stopping (savestate) VM ‘ded-eco-seib’

[12/04/12 21:50:31] VM ‘ded-eco-seib’ stopped (savestate)

… reboot server …

[12/04/12 21:52:23] ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0x80080005)

Do you have any idea what this means?

For the time being, I’ve gone back to V0.4.4 – while this daily error message is a bit of a nuisance, at least it DOES start the service.

2012-12-05 00:59:00

The error means that the COM Server (VBoxSVC.exe) process either crashed, or just couldn’t instantiate the COM object.

Does VirtualBox GUI run fine? Or better yet can you manipulate the machines with VBoxManage.exe?

What kind of user is VirtualBox installed under (administrator account, limited account)?

If you can run VirtualBox GUI under your user account, you can try configuring vboxctrl service to run as that user — this should work since version 0.4.5. It might be that SYSTEM account doesn’t have some permissions to files/COM/etc.

2012-12-05 10:02:27

Ha! Interesting questions…

I upgraded to the latest VirtualBox (4.2.4) yesterday. So the current setup is VBox 4.2.4 + VBoxCtrl 0.4.4.

VirtualBox is installed under the Administrator account.

I just tried it; VirtualBox crashes if the VBoxCtrl service is running (Callee RC: CO_E_SERVER_EXEC_FAILURE (0x80080005)). I believe the last VirtualBox version (4.2.2 AFAIR) didn’t crash, but can’t tell with 100% certainty.

If VBoxCtrl is stopped, it comes up OK nicely and can start/modify/whatever the virtual machine.

Interestingly, when I closed the VirtualBox GUI and tried to restart the VBoxCtrl service from VBoxCtrlTray, I got the 0x80080005 error, too. A second try some 20 seconds later worked. Maybe I just didn’t wait long enough and some VirtualBox stuff was still running.

OK, installing V0.4.5 again, this time configuring the service to run as Administrator.

First test: start service from VBoxCtrlTray. Comes up and is listed as running as Administrator in the Task Manager. So far so good.

Second test: start VirtualBox GUI with running service. This still produces 0x80080005. Pfff, never mind, the whole businness is to run an unattended virtual Linux server, so if I have to stop the service for modifications, so be it.

Now the final test – reboot the server.

VBoxCtrl crashed.

BUT when I inspected the crash report, I noticed that it said V0.4.3 as the version number of the crashing application. Could this be a hint? Hmmm…

When I installed VBoxCtrl, I created a hardlink for my service with “fsutil hardlink create ded-eco-seib.exe vboxcrl.exe”. Since then, when I went to a new VBoxCtrl version, I just stopped the service and vboxctrltray, then copied the new version over the old one, which also changed the hardlinked service executable. Maybe that wasn’t enough, although according to the explorer the link points to the same program.

So I recreated the service program (stop service, remove executable, create hardlink again). Reboot… and…

VBoxCtrl 0.4.5 comes up again, but I still get the “Service could not be started” error (although it IS started; the service, VBoxHeadless and 2*VBoxSVC run as Administrator now).

Bottom line: recreating the hard link cured the crash, but the problem introduced with V0.4.4 (or maybe 0.4.3, can’t tell) remains, even if I run the service as the user which created and manages the VM. VirtualBox GUI also only comes up if service is stopped, no matter whether it’s running under the local system or Administrator account.

2012-12-05 13:57:30

Since VirtualBox 4.2 (AFAIR) you can’t run VirtualBox GUI and vboxctrl service simultaneously for one VBOX_USER_HOME from different users. Before 4.2 you could run VirtualBox GUI while vboxctrl service was running but you couldn’t interact with running VMs, so there was not much use for that anyway. And that is documented in README/top of this page. This is a limitation of VirtualBox, not vboxctrl.

As to running the service as a user account I can see there are still some issues, will investigate. Also, after system started up there should be only one VBoxSVC running. For diagnostic purposes I would recommend to simplify your setup as much as possible (getting rid of hardlinks, reinstalling the service and maybe virtualbox itself).

2012-12-05 20:56:40

I stopped and deinstalled my service with “ded-eco-seib -u”.

Then I removed the hardlink and copied vboxctrl.exe to ded-eco-seib.exe instead.

Then I (re-)installed my service with “ded-eco-seib -i”.

Then I assured that it runs as Administrator.

Starting it up from VBoxCtrlTray worked nicely.



after about a minute or so, the server tells me that a service could not be started correctly.

Event list shows it’s my service, with code 7022.

See for details – essentially, it means “The specified service is stuck in the start pending state. The service failed to indicate that it is making progress within the time period indicated in its last status message.”

The service’s log file only shows

[12/05/12 19:34:28] Starting VM ‘ded-eco-seib’

[12/05/12 19:35:15] VM ‘ded-eco-seib’ started

2012-12-05 21:46:55

1. Do not try to start vboxctrl 0.4.5 as a user. This one is still broken, sorry. Use SYSTEM account.

2. Set Loglevel=3 in vboxctrl.ini to have some debugging info in the log file.

3. I’m gonna do some testing with system startup as I’ve just realized that I haven’t properly tested 0.4.5 starting at system boot. Will get back to you.

2012-12-07 09:49:35

ok, found a bunch of bugs, will get them fixed in 0.4.6 soon

2012-12-10 10:15:11

Unfortunately, 0.4.6 didn’t change the startup misbehavior here. Still event code 7022, although the service is up and running. Here’s the log file contents with LogLevel 3 when the service is run under the Administrator user:

[12/10/12 08:47:50] VirtualBox Control Service v0.4.6.159 started

[12/10/12 08:47:50] Started VBoxSVC[1668]

[12/10/12 08:47:51] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[12/10/12 08:49:30] Using VBOX_USER_HOME: C:\Dokumente und Einstellungen\Administrator\.VirtualBox

[12/10/12 08:49:30] VirtualBox Interface v4.2.4 initialized

[12/10/12 08:49:30] Starting VM ‘ded-eco-seib’

[12/10/12 08:49:45] VM ‘ded-eco-seib’ started

When I try to start the service using the local system account, it crashes, after writing the followinglog entries:

[12/10/12 09:08:15] VirtualBox Control Service v0.4.6.159 started

[12/10/12 09:08:15] Started VBoxSVC[1612]

[12/10/12 09:08:16] Initializing VirtualBox interface

[12/10/12 09:08:47] ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0x80080005)

2012-12-10 10:41:02

1. Running vboxctrl as a user doesn’t make any sense now, because VirtualBox GUI won’t run. The service itself might start as a user, but you won’t be able to control it with tray helper.

2. 0x80080005 is almost always because of another VBoxSVC.exe process already running with another user/session and the same VBOX_USER_HOME. Stop all VM’s if running and exit VirtualBox GUI. Stop all vboxctrl services and configure them to run as a SYSTEM account. Make sure you don’t see any VBoxSVC.exe, VBoxThreadless.exe processes in Task Manager and kill them if you do. Now try to start your VM via vboxctrltray or the vboxctrl service itself manually and see what happens.

2013-01-30 05:55:28

Host: Win7 x64

Guest: freebsd x64

Shutdown Option: acpipowerbutton

In service control pane, when I click stop at service for specific guest VM, the corresponding service status will return from “running” to “stop” before the VM shutdown completely. Such early change of status will cause corruption to the guest VM if the VM host (win7) is shutdown/restart. (because the host will power off/recycle when all services reported “stop”)

Is there any way to pend the status change until the shutdown of guest VM is eventually complete?

2013-01-30 05:58:39

VBox Version: 4.2.6 r82870

vboxctrl64 version: 0.4.6

2013-05-26 20:06:01

Thank you! Works great! Windows 8 x64, vboxctrl64 0.4.6. A couple years ago PayPal did not accept donations to your country–has that changed?

Also, general note for users who are getting “ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0×80080005)”–make sure to close the VirtualBox GUI FIRST

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2014-08-06 09:28:04

Hey. Great little programs. Solves a real problem and you kept it up to date!

Would be great to be able to run this puppy under a user account. I seem to just get an error saying it can’t find the VM if I try it. Was thinking if it runs under the same account as the VMs are configured it might solve the locking issue?

Cheers, Ryan

2014-09-10 18:18:58

That problem seems to be because the user you are trying to run the VM under has not added the VM profile to VirtualBox under his user account folder (i.e. C:\users\TestUser\.VirtualBox), where TestUser is the username.

The following are the steps i used to make running the program under user work:

1. create a new standard (non-admin) user with a password, e.g. “TestUser”

2. logout of your current user, and login to the TestUser account. Open the VirtualBox program (it should be installed for all users, if not, install it for the TestUser). Select in the menu Machine > Add, and add your virtual machine, e.g. “TestVM”. All settings should be intact, and configure any if necessary. Close VirtualBox program.

3. copy vboxctrl files to the user’s desktop or any folder the user has read-write-execute permissions (e.g. C:\Users\TestUser\Desktop\vboxctrl)

4. edit the vboxctrl.ini, set VboxUserHome=C:\Users\TestUser\.VirtualBox, and set VMName=TestVM, and set other settings accordingly.

5. navigate to the vboxctrl folder, open command prompt by pressing Shift+Rightclicking, and select ‘open command prompt here’. Type ‘vboxctrl.exe. -i’ without the quotes to install the service.

6. open up Services by pressing Window+R and type services.msc. Check that vboxctrl is present in the list of services. Double-click on the vboxctrl service, click the Logon tab, select ‘This Account’, click Browse, type TestUser and press ENTER, type in the password and confirm password, and press OK. A dialog pops up showing “TestUser has now been granted rights to Log on as a service, just click OK. With this, the service has been set to run under user credentials.

7. navigate back to the vboxctrl folder, edit vboxtray.ini to point to the vboxctrl.ini file configured in Step 4 (in our example, C:\User\TestUser\Desktop\vboxctrl\vboxctrl.ini).

8. Launch vboxtray.exe and it should show the TestVM name. However if start TestVM now, in Task Manager you will notice it will start a process called VBoxVC.exe which quickly disappears. In Event Viewer > Windows Logs > System log, you might notice an error about not having sufficient permissions to launch the DCOM object or it took too long to connect to the DCOM server.

9. Before you can launch this under TestUser, you must give DCOM permissions to TestUser to launch the VM, since users are not given permissions by default. Navigate to Control Panel > Administrative tools > Component services. In Component Services, navigate to Console Root > Component Services > Computers > DCOM Config. Now on the menu, select View > Detail. Find an Application called “VirtualBox Application”, right-click and select Properties. Click the Security tab. Under Launch and Activation Permissions select ‘Customize’ and click Edit. A list of user permissions appears, now click Add, and type in TestUser, click OK. Now grant TestUser Allow permissions to Local launch, and Local Activation. Click OK.

10. Finally, now open vboxtray and click Start. Check Task manager that there is 1 instance of VBoxSVC.exe and 2 instances of VBoxHeadless.exe and that the process is running under TestUser.

11. If there are any errors, check VirtualBox log (C:\Users\TestUser\.VirtualBox\VBoxSVC.log), or check vboxctrl service’s log (C:\Users\TestUser\Desktop\vboxctrl\vboxctrl.log)

Good luck.

2014-09-06 06:43:16

Like Ryan (previous post) i was wondering whether running under a user was possible. I set Logon as .\User and entered my password for the configured service. The ‘service location’ (i.e. the files for the service, vboxctrl.exe and vboxctrl.ini) must be in a read/execute path for the user it is run in. It worked like a charm.

Although Event Viewer reported the following under System log:

The VBoxDebian760 service is marked as an interactive service. However, the system is configured to not allow interactive services. This service may not function properly.

But this it still worked.

I hope this would be stable, while also being more secure than running in the SYSTEM account. Would it be? (a question to the Author)

Thanks for the great tool.

2015-07-24 10:44:45


is 0.4.7 running with VBox 5.0 or is there any plan to bring a new version of vboxctrl for the use with VBox 5.0 and upwards?


2015-11-06 10:51:43


Better late than never, I suppose :)

2015-11-06 18:08:23

Thx! :)

2015-09-09 09:12:26

Trying to run vboxctrl with VirtualBox 5.0.2 on Windows 10 (Win-10 forced me to VB-5 for networking). Error is “ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0x80004002)”. I’ve been running VB-4.3, etc. with vboxctrl since October 2013 and really like it.

2015-11-06 10:52:18

Use vboxctrl version 0.5.0

2015-11-29 00:54:11

Thank you very much. I updated all my host machines to VirtualBox 5 with vboxctrl 0.5.0 and I’m a happy camper again.

2016-05-14 13:45:23

Because I need to VBoxBalloonCtrl.exe calls and VBoxSVC.exe changed name, I would like to generate a new source compiler used, there are many places you want to modify it

2016-05-17 11:37:19

Executing Pre Build commands …

..\buildtools\getrev.bat res\_version_template.rc res\_version.rc

‘sed’ ²»ÊÇÄÚ²¿»òÍⲿÃüÁҲ²»ÊÇ¿ÉÔËÐеijÌÐò


svn revision = 159


mingw32-make.exe[1]: Leaving directory `C:/Users/luo/Desktop/vboxctrl-0.4.6-src/vboxctrl’

mingw32-make.exe[1]: Entering directory `C:/Users/luo/Desktop/vboxctrl-0.4.6-src/vboxctrl’

mingw32-make.exe[1]: *** No rule to make target `Release/src_vboxctrl.cpp.o’, needed by `../bin/vboxctrl’. Stop.

mingw32-make.exe[1]: Leaving directory `C:/Users/luo/Desktop/vboxctrl-0.4.6-src/vboxctrl’

mingw32-make.exe: *** [All] Error 2

2016-06-24 17:04:38


Thanks for vboxctrl, it’s a great tool!

On upgrading to vboxctrl64-0.5.0, the Windows service stops “immediately” though, without waiting for proper VM shutdown processing (VirtualBox 5.0.22). ShutdownCommand=acpipowerbutton. This is a big problem on rebooting Windows host.

On vboxctrl64-0.4.2 with VirtualBox 4.1.18 this works OK (Windows service effectively stops only after VM is actually shutdown, method ShutdownCommand=acpipowerbutton).

Can you please check?

Thanks in advance.


// BTM10159

2016-06-28 02:57:35


It looks like we’ve been able to bypass the VM shutdown processing problem by recompiling vboxctrl-0.4.2 with updated VirtualBox 5.0 SDK. Actual source code changes were minimal (vboxctrl/src/vboxctrl.cpp), thankfully.

Thanks for providing source-code and CodeLite environment files!



// BTM10159

Mr Takahashi
2016-07-31 22:22:44

Are you going to release a version for Vbox 5.1, or should the 5.0 version still work OK with 5.1?

2016-09-05 11:12:33

Version 0.5.1 released with VirtualBox 5.1 support. Sorry for late response.

2016-08-11 22:07:55

Didn’t work with VB5.1(operating system win2003).

When creating service in log:

[08/11/16 21:39:12] ERROR retrieving security descriptor of the service (0x000001e7)

[08/11/16 21:39:12] ERROR updating service DACL

[08/11/16 21:39:12] Service application (vboxctrl64_app) installed successfully.

After restart system in log file:

[08/11/16 21:57:56] Starting VM ‘appservJ92D8’

and thats all.

The virtual machine doesn’t start/

Why it doesn’t work? Any idea?

2016-09-05 11:12:56

Version 0.5.1 released with VirtualBox 5.1 support.

2016-08-30 23:27:45

Current vboxctrl64.exe works with VirtualBox 5.0, but not 5.1.

I can start my machine through VirtualBox gui or as a headless machine using VBoxManage, but not vboxctrl64.exe (on Windows 10).

vboxctrl64.exe -i creates the service okay, but when I do a NET START just VBOXSVC.exe is shown as a child of vboxctrl64.exe. VBoxSVC.exe does not launch any of its children (VBoxHeadless, and VBoxNetDHCP).

No rush on fixing this, I just rolled back to VirtualBox 5.0.26 and VB 5.0 is still a supported version.

Thanks for your great product. — Shamus

2016-09-05 11:13:16

Version 0.5.1 released with VirtualBox 5.1 support.

2016-09-08 08:25:47

I used the new vboxctrl 0.5.1 on two systems where I installed VirtualBox 5.1.4. Worked great. Thanks.

2016-09-07 20:15:04

I experienced a similar problem with 5.1 (64-bit). I have no problems running 5.0.

With 5.1, the service will start but then with terminated with “Error 1067: The process terminated unexpectedly”.

Operating system: Windows 10

Thank you.

2016-09-07 20:20:59

I think my problem was because my VirtualBox version is 5.0.26. Running VBoxCtrl 5.1 might not be compatible with this version of VirtualBox.

Sorry and please discard my previous comment.

2016-12-27 18:09:39


the download is not working anymore. Missing directory tools:

Not Found

The requested URL /tools/ was not found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Regards and a happy new year

2017-11-22 11:35:29


2016-12-30 12:28:51

Hello I can not download:

Not Found

The requested URL /tools/ was not found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

WHS Master
2017-02-11 14:18:44

Hi, please fix the downloads links. At the moment ist’s not possible to download the binaries.

2017-06-25 13:20:09


this site seems to be really dead. The binary downloads are not available for several months …

Not Found

The requested URL /tools/ was not found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Tha’s really a pity, good tool, bot now I have to go away to other solutions …

2017-06-27 09:30:07

If you find a good alternative solution, leave a note here. I think it is only a matter of time before some VirtualBox upgrade breaks vboxctrl.

When I originally went looking for a solution to run virtualbox as a service I narrowed the list down to about 5 in 2013 but some were already unsupported then. was one I considered but did not pursue.

Source code links on this site still work. So, I guess self support is an option. When one has time :-) and a compiler :-) and knowledge.

— Shamus

2017-11-22 11:25:32

I’m no quite sure what happened to the binaries, but fixed now

2017-11-23 21:08:11

Hi vu1tur,

many thanks. But due to the unreachability of yourself and the long time to answer, I now migrate to VBoxVmService. Are there any change to fix the communication problem?

Many thanks for your grate software

2018-01-17 15:59:08

Sorry about that, I do have some issues here with notifications. And while I do use this tool myself, I’m not checking for VirtualBox updates, since I may not start the GUI for months.

I’ll fix the notification issue, and hopefully will respond promptly.

2017-11-30 09:41:45

Upgraded to VirtualBox 5.2.2 today. Vboxctrl 0.5.1 doesn’t seem to work.

Under cmd.exe I see (blank lines removed):

Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.16299.64]

(c) 2017 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\aps\vboxctrl> vboxctrl64_rho.exe -i

VirtualBox-vb41rho1 (vboxctrl64_rho) service installed successfully.

C:\aps\vboxctrl> NET START “VirtualBox-vb41rho1”

The VirtualBox-vb41rho1 service is starting.

The VirtualBox-vb41rho1 service could not be started.

A system error has occurred.

System error 1067 has occurred.

The process terminated unexpectedly.

vboxctrl64_rho.log shows:

[11/29/17 22:48:07] Service VirtualBox-vb41rho1 (vboxctrl64_rho) installed successfully.

[11/29/17 22:48:20] ERROR creating VirtualBox instance (rc = 0x80004002)

2018-01-17 15:57:10

Fixed with update to 0.5.2

2018-01-21 23:05:39

Many thanks.

2018-02-18 09:44:14

I’m running vboxctrl with VirtualBox 5.2.6 on four Windows 10 machines now. Again, many thanks.

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2020-01-17 21:23:46

When using this program everything runs great, I can reboot the host and my VM shutsdown and boots back up all on it’s own. BUT if I reboot the VM in a RDP session for example, it does not come back online. VM service tray shows it as aborted, then I can tell it to start and the machine comes back online. This is all good for the most part, but this VM needs to be online 24/7, so if Windows updates come along and force it to restart, I need to know that it will come back online without any user intervention. Can I do this through VM service control or is there a way to fix the issue of it not rebooting?


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