mksTaskbarPlugin

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This is a module which loads into both Explorer (via the IDeskBand COM interface) and vmware-vmx (via the MKSPlugin interface), and renders a resizable thumbnail of your choice of VM console to a panel on the Windows taskbar.  It's useful for, among other things, keeping an eye on a lengthy background operation like software installation in a VM, with the Workstation user interface minimized

Architecture:

This implements a single .dll, which loads into Explorer processes via COM, and vmware-vmx via MKSPlugin. Some of the DLL's data is stored in a special segment that is shared into all processes loading the DLL. See ipc.c for details on this. There's no locking, and the shared memory segment is designed to tolerate races and processes coming and going as they please. In addition to the shared memory interface, the VMX process will send Windows messages to the Explorer process.

  • The Explorer process is responsible for the user interface -- creating the output window, sizing the window, and presenting a list of running VMs.
  • The vmware-vmx process is responsible for rendering the chosen VM to the output window.
  • The Explorer process responds to Windows messages, which we can use as a push notification mechanism. The VMX process doesn't respond to Windows messages and doesn't provide a push notification mechanism, so it has to poll for updates when the Explorer process wants to tell it anything (this polling is done on every hostops update, and on a realtime Poll callback, both included in the MKSPlugin interface).
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MksTaskbarPlugin has been tested on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008. It is supported on both 32-bit and 64-bit. However, use the corresponding mksTaskbarPlugin build.

  • Windows XP or later
  • VMware Workstation 6.5 or later
This fling has been deprecated.

Installation:

  • Copy mksTaskbarPlugin.dll to the "mksPlugins" subdirectory of your Workstation installation directory.
  • Explorer side: Register the COM interface (run regsvr32 on this DLL), right-click the taskbar, choose Toolbars, then choose VMware Console Preview. (Note: if you have registered the DLL but it does not show up in the taskbar's Toolbars context menu, just try again and it will show up the second time-- this is a bug in Windows Explorer.)
  • VMX side: Add
    1. mks.plugin.enable = TRUE
    2. mks.plugin.0 = "mksTaskbarPlugin" to your config file (global or per-VM).
  • This should also work for the Remote MKS.
  • If you edit the config files honored by vmware-remotemks, you should also be able to use mksTaskbarPlugin with any apps that use the Remote MKS (e.g. VI Client).
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