So, to secure your VirtualBox a USB access, do the following:
- Download USB Network Gate.
- Install downloaded app on the computer that has your USB device attached.
- Use the app interface to share the device.
- Now you’ll need to Install the USB Network Gate on a VM.
- Start the app on a VM and use it to connect to the shared USB device from a VirtualBox.
USB Network Gate is a multi-platform software solution and is perfectly compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Accessing a USB from a VirtualBox on Linux
Let’s get a view of the process of obtaining access to a USB device from a VirtualBox on Linux using the example VirtualBox 5.2 and an Ubuntu-based Elementary OS host. It’s rather simple and straightforward, once you’ve got the gist of it.
- First off, take care that you’ve got the most recent version of VirtualBox. If not, you’ll need to get the older version out of your way with the command:
sudo apt purge virtualbox
- Upon completion, run the next command to add the required repository:
sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian contrib"
NOTE: Replace UBUNTU-RELEASE with an actual version of your Ubuntu. Use the command
lsb_release -a, if you’re not sure which one is it.
- Now, use this command to download and install the signature key for the repository:
wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/oracle_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add
- Next thing to do is to install the current version of VirtualBox:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt install virtualbox-5.2 dkms
- And with that, Install the VirtualBox Extension Pack:
NOTE: You’ll only get USB 1.0 support with the open-source Extension Pack. For USB 2.0 and 3.0 you’ll have to get the closed source version by Oracle (it’s listed as “All supported platforms” file on the official Download page).
On downloaded completion, run VirtualBox and go through these steps:
- Go to the Extension tab and click +
- Browse to your Extension Pack, select it and click Open
- Click Install on a flyout
- Agree with the End User License Agreement
- Enter your sudo password
- Wait till the end of the installation process
Finally, to grant your VirtualBox access to the USB subsystem, you’ll have to join the vboxuser group. Here’s the command to do that:
sudo usermod -aG vboxusers
NOTE: Replace USERNAME with your actual username.
Adding an attached USB device to the Virtual Machine.
Upon completion of all the steps listed above, log-off and log right back on. Run VirtualBox. Then go to the Settings tab of your VM (pick Settings from the menu invoked by the right button click on VM’s name) and click USB. Find USB Device Filters, and click + to add a new device.
From now on, you’ll be able to access the USB device any time you start up your virtual machine. And if each time it will be required to use another USB device, just return to the Settings, click on USB, and add that device too. You can do that as many times as you need until all of your USB peripherals are accessible from VirtualBox.
After this is done, your VirtualBox will become a little easier to use and you won’t have to constantly seek a workaround to pass some data from a VM to a USB, or in the reversed direction. What a relief for your data center!
Accessing a USB from a VirtualBox on Windows
During the VirtualBox session, you’re able to view and control the guest OS of a virtual machine on a remote PC. For that purpose, VirtualBox has a specific protocol called VirtualBox Remote Display Protocol (VRDP), backward-compatible with RDP protocol from Microsoft. That’s why VirtualBox is a top choice for anyone with a need for unimpeded access to the VM through the RDP Connection.
But what about USB access? Well, even though VirtualBox guest OS doesn’t have virtual USB, thanks to VRDP you can easily and efficiently access any USB peripherals, both on a remote machine, and a VM’s real host.