USB on VirtualBox (non-OSE)

Dec 22, 2008 • alan


I spent most of Sunday trying to get a USB device to work under Windows XP, running inside of VirtualBox OSE on an Ubuntu host. I found lots of how-to’s, mostly involving permissions on /dev/bus/usb and /proc/bus/usb, and also comments about /etc/fstab. However, the part that was not inherently obvious was that VirtualBox OSE (the “Open Source Edition”) does not support USB. However, the non-OSE version does.

Again, VirtualBox OSE does not support USB.

So I downloaded the non-OSE version (actually, on Ubuntu, you can simply add a line to your apt sources file and use the normal apt tools to install it). Within minutes, my USB devices showed up. From what I understand, you do still need to make sure to mount /dev/bus/usb.

root@kimono:~$ grep vbox /etc/group
vboxusers:x:125:alan
root@kimono:~$ grep usb /etc/fstab
none  /proc/bus/usb  usbfs  devgid=125,devmode=664 0 0
root@kimono:~$ mount | grep usb
none on /proc/bus/usb type usbfs (rw,devgid=125,devmode=666)
root@kimono:~$