How to Access USB from VirtualBox Guest OS

There are times when you need to access USB from VirtualBox. For instance, you installed Kali Linux in VirtualBox and a USB wireless network adapter is required to do penetration testing. This simple tutorial will show you how to easily access your USB thumb drive, USB hard disk, or USB wireless network adapter in your Virtualbox guest OS.

It’s assumed that you have already set up VirtualBox on your host OS.

Step 1: Install Virtualbox Extension Pack

Shut down your guest OS.

VirtualBox by default only supports USB 1.x devices. VirtualBox extension pack includes support for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices, VirtualBox RDP and PXE boot for Intel cards. You must install the extension pack with the same version as your installed version of VirtualBox.

To check the version of your VirtualBox, open VirtualBox manager, then go to Help > About VirtualBox. Once you know the version number, go to in your web browser to download VirtualBox extension pack which ends with .vbox-extpack extension.

install VirtualBox extension pack

Once downloaded, in VirtualBox manager go to File > Preferences > Extensions. Click the add button to add VirtualBox extensions pack from your hard disk.

virtualbox extensions pack usb 2.0 usb 3.0

Once you choose the extension pack, click Install button to install it. You can see what functionalities it adds to your virtual machine in the description.

Oracle VM VirtualBox extension pack

Then click Agree to accept VirtualBox license.

VirtualBox License

So now Virtualbox USB support is enhanced.

Step 2: Add Your User to vboxusers Group

In order for VirtualBox to see your USB devices, your user must be in the vboxusers group. Open up a terminal window (Ctrl+Alt+T), then run this command. Replace your-username with your real username. Of course I assume your host OS is a Linux distro such as Ubuntu.

sudo gpasswd -a your-username vboxusers

Now log out and log back in so the changes can take effect.

Step 3: Enable USB Controller and Add New USB filter

Click settings for your virtual machine.

Access USB devices in virtualbox

Select USB on the left pane. Then choose USB 2.0 controller or USB 3.0 controller. Note that you can only enable one type of controller. Next, insert your USB device to your host machine and click the add button to add new USB filter.

virtualbox add new usb filter

Choose your USB device and Click OK.


Step 4: Access USB from VirtualBox

Now boot up your virtual machine and you will see your USB device in the guest OS. It should be noted that your host OS won’t be able to see the USB device while it’s being used by VirtualBox.

To unmount USB device from guest OS, select devices > USB and uncheck your USB device.

access USB drive in virtualbox guest os

To mount USB in VirtualBox again, simply select your USB drive in the list.

Does this post helped you access USB drive in VirtualBox guest OS? Let me know in the comments section below. As always, if you found this post useful,  subscribe to our free newsletter or follow us on Google+, Twitter or like our Facebook page.

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