Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a Windows 7 virtual machine running on the closed-source edition of Virtualbox, which has USB support. I want the VM to directly access a USB wireless adaptor, but can't attach the adaptor because it is in use. In this case I do need Windows to directly access the card and configure the wireless settings; configuring it in Ubuntu and bridging it will not suffice.

As soon as I plug in the USB stick, Network Manager is a bit too keen and grabs hold of it. Adding the below to /etc/NetworkManager/nm-system-settings.conf does cause Network Manger to not automatically manage the adaptor yet it remains inaccessible to VirtualBox.


How can prevent anything from using the adaptor, so that I can attach it to the VM?

share|improve this question
what version of ubuntu are you using? – wajiw Dec 2 '10 at 15:22
10.10 (this minimum comment length restriction is annoying) – misterben Dec 2 '10 at 15:38
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't have a usb wireless adapter to try, but you can use dmesg after plugin the adapter to check the module that the kernel loads to use it, then rmmod it.

Or you can use some udev rule to keep the module from loading.

Note that, from the question, I assumed you are quite an advanced user, if you need more detailed instructions just ask.

share|improve this answer
I think this would clearly be the right approach. However whilst playing around with udev rules, update-manager coincidently popped up with a VirtualBox update. After upgrading, I can now connect any USB device, even a USB network adaptor in use by NetworkManager. – misterben Dec 3 '10 at 14:06
While it no longer seems to be a problem grabbing the USB while Network Manager is using this, I'll mark this as the accepted answer as it's definitely the way to go if further action were necessary. – misterben Dec 7 '10 at 15:35

click to capture usb from virtual box menu before inserting usb drive . then virtual box would be able to install usb installer software..

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.