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

Read more

Explore system restore points

I’ve done a little more work on my System Restore point explorer, and it now actually allows you to explore 🙂

I’ve made use of the excellent AlphaVSS library which exposes the Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) API’s as native .net objects. I’ve been having a few issues accessing these in Vista x64, but I have tested this in Vista x86 and it appears to be working ok. Again feedback is welcome via comments.

Mount system restore point


Delete system restore points?

A couple of days ago my C: drive ran out of disk space and I was a little confused, because only a few days earlier I had around 30GB free, so I decided to do some digging and figure out where it had all gone…

Anyway to my surprise it had been consumed by Vista’s System Restore feature, I had installed a couple of applications, decided they weren’t for me and un-installed them. Each of these actions had created a new system restore point. After figuring out how to get access to the “C:System Volume Information” folder (I don’t really recommend you do this) I saw that some of these system restore points were up to 3GB each in size, but I couldn’t find any way to delete them.

I googled a little and some people seemed to suggest that the Disk Cleanup Wizard would remove them, but it didn’t work for me, in fact the only way I reclaimed over 40GB of disk space was to disable (which does remove the data) and then re-enable system restore.

But what I really wanted was a way to delete individual restore points and I couldn’t find anything already out there, so I set about developing a solution myself.

System Restore Explorer

The more I researched the more advanced I thougt I could make this tool, so currently it does what I first wanted, allows you to delete individual restore points. But I plan to add functionality that will allow you to mount a restore point and browse it’s contents (hence it’s name System Restore Explorer)

It’s not really ready for public consumption yet, but I am planning to upload a beta copy here tomorrow, and hopefully I can get some feedback


Well, as promised here is a beta for people to play with, use this at your own risk, if it happens to trash your entire computer it’s not my fault! This program requires .net framework 3.5 and has been tested on Vista only.