Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Making USB visible in the VirtualBox Guest

For many of you who might been be following by blog might know that I use Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit as my primary desktop and use Window 7 guest with  VirtualBox for working with Microsoft Office documents and also to sync my Apple Nano using iTunes.

I recently bought a device (would be blogging about it in the next post) for which the CD had drivers for Windows and not for Ubuntu. So, I did a bit of research and found out that the device is supported in Ubuntu and so I decided to buy it.

When the device is connected to the Laptop, the host OS (Ubuntu 12.04) recognizes it, but the guest OS (Windows 7) doesn't. I wanted to exploit the device to the full extent, so wanted to use it in the Windows 7 guest with the proper drivers and software installed.

Here are the steps to be followed to make the USB device visible on the guest OS.

1) OSE (Open Source Edition) version of VirtualBox is installed by default with the installation from the Ubuntu repository. The appropriate version of the VirtualBox Extension pack has to be downloaded and installed.  To install it, simply double click the extension and VirtualBox should open, prompting you to install it. If that doesn't work, you can also select File > Preferences > Extensions and browse for the downloaded VirtualBox extension.

2) Install the `gnome-system-tools` package using the `sudo apt-get install gnome-system-tools` command. This installs the `Users and Groups` program. Using thi thse user who logged into the OS has to be included in the vboxusers group. Logout and login back for the group association to take effect.

3) Connect the device which needs to be visible in the Guest OS and add a USB filter as shown here. Here are more instructions for the same. Initially the device which was visible
only in the host OS is no more visible in the host OS, but visible in the guest OS as required.

One thing to note is that the critical devices which are connected to the host OS through USB should not be added to the guest OS as they would be disconnected to the host OS and connected to the guest OS.

Next blog will be about an interesting device I bought and my review about it. So, keep following the blog.

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