VBoxLaunch – minor update

Just a quick post to let you know I have made an update to VBoxLaunch so that it now works with the Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2.0 release and created it’s own page in the software section of my website. Unfortunately, this really is a quick and dirty hack (due to the change in default install location of VirtualBox) and so will no longer work if you happen to still have VirtualBox installed to C:Program FilesSunVirtualBox. When I get some more time, I will make a proper fix.


I’m a big fan of Windows 7 and it’s new features, one of those being the Jump Lists. I’m also a big fan of VirtualBox for my development, testing and isolation needs, at least I can run a virtual x64 machine and connect to it for kernel mode debugging, which is something I can’t do with Virtual PC.

Anyway, as much as I’d like to see this actually built into the Windows VirtualBox GUI, I suspect it’s not high priority for the Sun developers and I’m far too lazy to setup a dev environment with all the pre-requrisites to actually build VirtualBox myself. So here’s a little hack work-around I created, to slightly improve the VirtualBox experience from the Windows 7 start menu.

If you’d like to make use of my small little app, then please feel free to download it from here, just extract the binary to your VirtualBox install folder, create a shortcut to VBoxLaunch.exe and drag it into your start menu. The first time you run VBoxLaunch it will query all of your VirtualBox VM’s and create a custom jump list for them,  you should then be able to start your selected VM directly, without the need to launch the VirtualBox GUI each time.

This tool requires the Microsoft .net Framework 3.5, should already exist on Windows 7 🙂 and was developed and tested on Windows 7 x64 (but there is no reason why it shouldn’t work on 32bit Windows 7 too)

Read Chip & PIN / EMV Card

Recently I’ve been working on a tool to allow you to read the contents of the chip on your Chip & PIN / EMV card and to decode some of the values. A lot of the information wont mean much without reading lots of long and complicated specs. But for anyone who’s interested and who has access to a PC/SC complient smart card reader on Windows here’s an example of the data that can be read.

EMV Card Browser

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Vista SP2 Build 16489 for x64

You may have already seen that Microsoft have released there first beta of Windows Vista SP2, as it was reported on several sites yesterday, one of my favorities is Rafael’s Within Windows blog. So you’ve probably already heard that there’s nothing much in there and it’s just a collection of previous fixes, albeit about a 290MB collection. Well standback and prepare to be flabagasted, because on x64 Vista Ultimate, that colection grows to about 490MB, it must be all those 64bit pointers 🙂