Starting Virtual Machines via Scripting with Windows Virtual PC

Starting Virtual Machines via Scripting with Windows Virtual PC

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Here are some simple scripts that allow you to start a virtual machine with Windows Virtual PC.  Now, you may be wondering why you would want to do this.  Well there are a couple of reasons I can think of:

  • Automated testing.  If you have a virtual machine that runs an automated tests, or a daily batch job: use a script to run the virtual machine in the background.
  • Patch deployment.  If you have an environment where patches are deployed after-hours – these scripts can ensure that virtual machines are running at the right time to receive the updates.
  • Faster launch. A virtual machine that is running in the background can still be used for seamless applications or for full-desktop virtual machine usage.  If you have a virtual machine that you regularly use, starting it with a script when you login means that it will be ready to go as soon as you need it.


# Check for correct command-line arguments
If ($vmName -eq "")
 write-host "Missing command-line argument."
 write-host "USage: StartVM.ps1 -vmName `"Name of virtual machine`""
# Connect to Virtual PC
$vpc=new-object –com VirtualPC.Application –Strict
# Get virtual machine object
$vm = $vpc.FindVirtualMachine($vmName)
# Start the virtual machine
write-host "Starting the virtual machine " $vmName "..."
$vmTask = $vm.Startup()
# Wait for the virtual machine to start
# Display success or failure
If ($vmTask.result -eq 0) 
 write-host "Virtual machine started."
 write-host "Failed to start virtual machine."
 write-host $vmTask.ErrorDescription



Option Explicit
Dim namedArguments, vpc, vm, vmName, vmTask
' Check that the script is running at the command line.
If UCase(Right(Wscript.FullName, 11)) = "WSCRIPT.EXE" Then
 WScript.Echo "This script must be run under CScript."
End If
' Get the virtual machine name from the command-line arguments
Set namedArguments = WScript.Arguments.Named
If namedArguments.Exists("vm") Then
 vmName = namedArguments.Item("vm")
 WScript.Echo "Missing command-line argument"
 WScript.Echo "Usage: StartVM.vbs /vm:" & chr(34) & "Name of virtual machine to be started" & chr(34)
End If
' Attempt to connect to Virtual PC
On Error Resume Next
Set vpc = CreateObject("VirtualPC.Application")
If Err.Number <> 0 Then
 WScript.Echo "Unable to connect to Virtual PC."
End if
On Error Goto 0
' Get virtual machine object
Set vm = vpc.FindVirtualMachine(vmName)
' Start the virtual machine
WScript.Echo "Starting the virtual machine " & vmName & "..."
Set vmTask = vm.Startup
' Wait for the virtual machine to start
' Display success or failure
If vmTask.result = 0 Then
 WScript.Echo "Virtual machine started."
 WScript.Echo "Failed to start virtual machine."
 WScript.Echo vmTask.ErrorDescription
End If


I have also attached these scripts to this post.


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  • Hi Ben,

    Is it possible to also configure a log off script to shut down a running VM?

    I use Windows on my media center and then have my email server running in a VM on the same box.  Virtual Server lets you start/stop the VM with the service, is there a way I could mirror this functionality in Win7 using Virtual PC?



  • Yes, you can script shutting down a virtual machine, but getting it to run on logoff would be tricky.



  • Is there any possibility to turnoff a hibernated windows virtual pc machine? When trying your code and executing the turnoff method instead of the startup methods it results in an error stating that the maschine is not running.

  • What is the commant to shut down a VM? Is it possible to shutdown all the VMs at the same time? Which command?


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