I have installed Virtual Box: Host OS Ubuntu 10.10 - Guest OS Windows XP. No problem so far.How can I access USB devices (scaners, printer, and others) from the guest os, windows XP.If this is not possible in the open source version maybe there is another virtualisation software program.

2 Answers 2


If you've installed the VirtualBox version from the repositories, then this is the "OSE" or "Open Source Edition" and it doesn't support either USB connections or built-in RDP support on guest OS's.

You need to install VirtualBox from the Oracle site directly in order to have access to USB connections.

Browse to http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads in order to download the appropriate .deb file. Double click on it to install it via Software Centre.

For USB support, you'll also need the "VirtualBox 4.0 Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack". Download it to your hard disk. Once you've installed VirtualBox 4.0, open it, then choose File/Preferences and click on "Extensions". Hit the Add, button, then open the file you downloaded.

Alternatively, you can keep up to date with the latest VirutalBox by adding their repository to your system by doing the following :

  1. Open synaptic, choose menu Settings/Repositories, click on other, then "add" and paste in the line :

    deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian maverick contrib
  2. Then download the Oracle respository key, and add it with the line :

    wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/oracle_vbox.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
  3. Finally, purge the existing OSE edition, then update your respository list and install the new version :

    sudo apt-get purge virtualbox-ose
    sudo apt-get update

(at this point, you'll likely get errors about a malformed release - simply pop into Synaptic, following step 1, then untick the "Source Code" entry for Virtualbox).

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-4.0

(you'll be prompted to download libhal1 and dkms - accept this to proceed)

  • +1 he is right.You need the closed source vbox for USB support,the OSE version cant.The version you download from their website can..
    – karthick87
    Dec 29, 2010 at 18:38
  • 1
    instead of installing from .deb he can also ad the ppa to his sources. The OSE version needs to be purged first.
    – Takkat
    Dec 29, 2010 at 18:44
  • Good thing it's free at least... Useful answer: +1 Dec 29, 2010 at 18:44
  • I didn't realise that Oracle are providing PPA support. I'll try to update my answer. Thanks!
    – Scaine
    Dec 29, 2010 at 19:09
  • 1
    Yeah. I just wish they'd extend sudo add-apt-repository support for external organisations. It's a pain having to describe how to add things to /etc/apt/sources.list, get the key, add it, etc, etc...
    – Scaine
    Dec 29, 2010 at 20:06

Run these commands:

VBoxManage list usbhost ## command 1 
VBoxManage list vms ## command 2

With the information from these two commands, run the following:

VBoxManage usbfilter add 0 -target <vmsnumber> -name <[0000]> -action hold -active yes -vendorid <0x0000> -productid <0x0000>

replacing the <> items with their respective values from the commands 1 & 2. Let us know what the command returns.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .