Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

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'm using Ubuntu Maverick and Virtual Box 3+. I have Windows 7 Ultimate. The problem is that it doesn't detect USB drives in Windows 7, but USB peripherals (mouse + keybord) are working.

I followed these instructions, but I can't find the user group vboxusers. How can I continue? I would also like to upgrade to the latest version without any risk (without losing my virtual hard disk drive).

share|improve this question
Is the Virtualbox you have installed the one from the software center? – belacqua Feb 10 '11 at 8:47
For your second question, the one about upgrading, you should probably have a look at this:… – Yi Jiang Feb 10 '11 at 8:47
@jgbelacqua Yes, I installed via software center. – kst Feb 10 '11 at 9:05
follow this link, [follow this link - akwal][1] [1]:… – akwal Jan 6 '14 at 13:30
up vote 85 down vote accepted

USB in different versions of Virtual Box

For use of USB in Virtual Box 3.x you need a PUEL-version. From Virtual Box > 4.x USB 1.0 is supported in the OSE version installed from software center. For USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 (from Virtual Box > 5.x) we need to install an extension pack free for download from Oracle. This will make our Virtual Box a PUEL-Version (see this question on details on how to install Virtual Box from the Oracle repository).

To change settings of a virtual machine needs the guest to be powered off.

Become a "vboxuser"

To be able to get access to an attached USB device the Ubuntu host user needs to be in the vboxusers group. This can be done from Users and Groups after having installed the gnome-system-tools Install gnome-system-tools or from the command line by

sudo usermod -aG vboxusers <username> 

We need a reboot or logout/login for group membership to take effect. On a Windows host a special kernel module will provide USB access.

Activate USB support in Virtual Box Manager

We need to activate the virtual USB driver in our guest OS.

Note that we can only change these settings when the virtual machine is in shut down state.

In the USB settings from Virtual Box Manager tick "Enable USB Controller" For enabling the USB 2.0 driver also tick "Enable USB 2.0 (EHCI) Controller".

enter image description here

Select host USB device for access from the guest

To grant access to USB devices we need to select a device to disable in the host and to enable in the guest (this is a precaution to avoid simultaneous access from host and guest). This can be done from the panel Devices menu or by right mouse click in the bottom panel of the Virtual Box Manager on the USB icon:

enter image description here

Tick the device you need in the guest, untick it if you need it in the host. The selected device will immediately be accessible from the guest. A Windows guest may need additional drivers:

enter image description here

Windows 10 may not accept an NTFS formatted USB pen drive.

Use USB filters for permanent access in the guest

By defining USB filters we can define USB devices that will automatically be presented to the guest when booting the guest OS.

enter image description here

Click on the green + symbol on the right to add a known device.

Note, that some devices may lead to a boot failure of the guest. We can not use these devices for filters.

Read more on USB support in the Virtual Box User Manual.

share|improve this answer
May be its late to comment but I'm using VirtualBox 4.3.14 in Ubuntu 14.04 and the command you have provided to add users to vboxusers (sudo usermod -aG vboxusers <username>) was not working. instead a small change was required while providing options. I did give -a -G instead of giving -aG to make it work. – learner Nov 3 '14 at 3:02
@learner That's very strange, since -aG and -a -G should have the same effect when passed as options to usermod. Is it possible that instead you had not logged out and back in the first time, but had done so the second time? – Eliah Kagan Apr 25 '15 at 19:48
@EliahKagan its been so many months so I have forgotten. But your explanation is the logical one so may be I have logged out and back the second time. – learner Apr 26 '15 at 3:34
This might need updating, vb 5.x is out now. – Karl Morrison Mar 1 at 2:11
  • Install gnome-system-tools b/c The old Users and Groups GUI is not available by default on 11.10

sudo apt-get install gnome-system-tools

  • After the installation finished Open user and groups from launcher

  • Select your username click on Manage Groups and select vboxusers and click add.

enter image description here

  • logout/login to be able to use usb in vertualbox.
share|improve this answer
I had a host ubuntu and a guest ubuntu. Most importantly do this on host not guest and one also needs Virtualbox extension pack apart from the guest additions (and save yourself an hour and a frustration). – enthusiasticgeek Apr 11 '14 at 21:11

The vboxusers will be in the /etc/group file. You edit it with something like nano .

sudo nano /etc/group

Add your user to the vboxusers line, or create one if necessary.

As Takkat has pointed out, to get full USB device support, you'll need to install the full (not the OSE) version of Virtualbox.

The ppa I have for the "official" virtualbox is here:

deb maverick contrib #VirtualBox Offical Source
share|improve this answer
+1 for ppa. I prefer linking to the download page as the deb link changed quite often recently ;) – Takkat Feb 10 '11 at 9:56

I had the same problem. After trying all the other solutions I realised my problem.

I had downloaded virtualbox from the Ubuntu Software Center, which didn't have the latest version of virtualbox, so I had accidently downloaded the wrong version of "Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack".


  1. open virtualbox, click help, click about, find your virtualbox version number.
  2. Goto (replace "4_3" with your version).
  3. Download the "Extension Pack" that matches your virtualbox version.
  4. Install that, and it might ask you if you would like to downgrade, click yes.

Worked for me anyway.

share|improve this answer

My solution was the following:

  1. Power off virtual machine
  2. Download the right extension pack
  3. Install extension pack
  4. Start virtual machine, put in Virtualbox guest additions and install them. If already installed, repeat the installation
  5. Shut down virtual machine
  6. Go to Settings>USB as shown in the images above and enable USB
  7. Boot virtual machine

If not working, restart your whole host system and try again. Worked fine for me. Watch out: At the first boot of the guest system after installing the guest additions, you will see all usb devices to choose, but it can take up to 10 minutes until the Windows guest activates them after you checked them. Just wait patiently.

share|improve this answer
Instead of adding on to their answer, maybe you should propose this as an edit. As it stands, it isn't really the best answer. – Zacharee1 Dec 8 '15 at 23:34

protected by Community Dec 31 '15 at 8:31

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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