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 http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/ 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. (I assume your host OS is a Linux distro such as Ubuntu, instead of Windows).

sudo gpasswd -a yourusername vboxusers

Now log out and log back in so the changes can take effect. To check which groups your user account belongs to, run:

groups yourusername

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.

Selection_009

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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6 Responses to “How to Access USB from VirtualBox Guest OS

  • Anupam Mitra
    10 months ago

    I was not getting access to my USB drive in Virtual Box. According to your above tutorial I followed all the instructions and now it is observed that my pendrive is detected by Virtualbox. However, my guest OS is Windows 7 in Virtualbox. In the My Computer folder of Windows 7, the USB device is yet to detected and thus I’m still hanging in air!

    • Cris Zotalis
      10 months ago

      The same here
      Ι have a Kingston data traveler 8gb
      My host is in Ubuntu and the client where i want to use the usb is running windows 7
      Even though it is shown in the usb l list of the client vm properties, it is not shown in my computer

    • James A. Sassu
      7 months ago

      In windows 7 guest operating systems you need to install intel usb 3.0 drivers for win 7

      https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/21129/USB-3-0-Driver-Intel-USB-3-0-eXtensible-Host-Controller-Driver-for-Intel-7-Series-C216-Chipset-Family?product=65855

      Should take care of your issue.

  • Mark Georgevich
    2 months ago

    I am using the Alfa AWUS036ACH. No matter how hard I try I cannot get Kali to recognize the wireless interface. I am on Windows 10 and using Virtual Bx 5.2.22. What is strange is that the output of lsusb sees the adapter. When I click on devices on top in the Kali windows it says I am connected to he Realtek 802N adapter which is the correct chipset. However, when I issue the command iwconfig, or ifconfig, it doesn’t show WLAN0. I don’t get it. When I disconnect the adapter from the guest machine (Kali), then the adapter shows up on the host machine. I have googled s many solutions and none of them work. Am I missing something?

  • This solution worked perfectly for me. I am running Ubuntu 18.10 as host and windows 7 as guest in Virtualbox. Am now able to see and use my Ross-Tech VCSD diagnostic interface. Thanks for the info.

  • Help please, I have tried everything (I have Windows 7 guest in a Ubuntu 16 host), I got the right extension pack and guest addittions, I am a Vboxusers member (I dont know how to log in and log out using the terminal but I did switch off and on my computer) Still USB are not being detected no my virtual machine, hope you can help me folks, thanks in advance.

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