David Dong

David Dong




Run virtual machine automatically at windows10 startup

I prefer working under Ubuntu because it is a programmer-friendly operating system and helps me develop more efficiently. However, there are times when I need to use Windows because it has more software options available. To address this, I used to install a virtual machine on my Windows 10 computer. But, there is a downside to this method. I had to manually start the virtual machine every time, which was a bit inconvenient. Therefore, I found a way to make the virtual machine start automatically when my Windows 10 boots up.

Step 1

I used VMware workstation, to set up boot auto-start using VMware Workstation, we need to understand the command line tool called “vmrun” provided by the software. “vmrun” is a command line tool that starts a virtual machine by command.


For example, starting a virtual machine with Workstation on a Windows host

vmrun -T ws start "c:\my_VMs_folder\myVM.vmx"

here the -T ws means use VMware Workstation

-T <hostType> (ws|fusion||player)

so the firsty step is to add the vmrun path in the the windows envrionments variable.

It is easy !

Step 2

Now I have added the vmrun into the Windows environments since I have verified by inputting vmrun command in the CMD and received the output of the command.

vmrun version 1.17.0 build-18811642

Next, I will need to write a batch script to start my Ubuntu by the vmrun command. The script is simple just as below.

@echo off
vmrun -T ws start "D:\Virtual_Machine\VM_Ubuntu20.04\UbuntuVM20.04.vmx"

I saved the script as vm-autorun.bat.

Step 3

I need to make the script auto-run when Windows 10 starts. In Windows, adding an autorun task is not a complicated work. Just put the script into the Windows startup directory. So I pressed win+r and input shell:startup. This operation helped me to navigate to the Windows startup directory, after that I copied the vm-autorun.bat to this directory. I rebooted the windows10 and after waiting some seconds, the virtual machine started to run and my Ubuntu was booting! It was working!

Step 4

But there was a small problem which made the solution not perfect. That was during the startup there was a command prompt window (CMD) displayed and it was a little annoying. So I need a bitter more optimized. I used a small tweak to hide the command prompt window, making it invisible. I used the VBScript to execute the batch file. This approach allows me to hide the command prompt window. I replaced the vm-autorun.bat file with the vm-autorun.vbs and wrote the below command into the vbs file.

Set ws = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
ws.run "cmd /c D:\Virtual_Machine\vm-autorun.bat", vbhide

In the command, D:\Virtual_Machine\vm-autorun.bat was my bat file path and vbhide meant hide mode - do not show command prompt window.

Save the file and reboot.

It was perfect this time, executed just as I expected.


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