I want to use my flashdrive in Windows XP, which I am currently running in Virtualbox, but when I open up the settings to enable usb usage, I get an error:

Failed to access the USB subsystem.
VirtualBox is not currently allowed to access USB devices. 
You can change this by adding your user to the 'vboxusers' group. 
Please see the user manual for a more detailed explanation

Result Code: 
NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x00004005)
IHost {30678943-32df-4830-b413-931b25ac86a0}
IMachine {22781af3-1c96-4126-9edf-67a020e0e858}

Does anyone know how to fix this!?


6 Answers 6


In your host, run this command:

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers $USER

Now perform a logout (always required after add current user to a group).

After login, check that you are in the vboxusers group with this command, make sure that vboxusers is in the shown list:

groups $USER
  • 2
    i am getting error: usermod: group 'vboxusers' does not exist
    – Alex Jones
    Dec 29, 2014 at 14:42
  • 2
    adduser: The group `vboxusers' does not exist. Now what?
    – endolith
    Oct 7, 2016 at 18:16
  • 2
    Oh wait, this is something you run in the host OS, not the guest OS?
    – endolith
    Oct 7, 2016 at 18:20
  • 4
    Actually, for Linux guests + hosts (not exactly the question but helpful), you need to do BOTH sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers "$USER" on the host AND sudo usermod -a -G vboxsf "$USER" on the guest after extension pack install and then reboot the guest.
    – KrisWebDev
    Jan 5, 2020 at 8:11
  • Only logout doesn't work. I have to reboot to make it work.
    – sgon00
    Feb 19 at 15:00

This works for me and my problem with VirtualBox was solved

sudo usermod -a -G vboxsf "$USER"
  • 3
    i am getting error: usermod: group 'vboxsf' does not exist
    – Alex Jones
    Dec 29, 2014 at 14:42
  • I don't know why installing VirtualBox does not add that group for you, maybe will it be good idea to add group manually first
    – Serjik
    Dec 30, 2014 at 5:08
  1. Add the user as suggested by other answer using usermod command.
  2. Run the command id. You should see vboxusers in the list.
  3. If you don't see that, you may restart your computer and try id again.

When you get vboxusers listed as a result of running id, you're good to use USB with virtual box.

  • 1
    Instead of restarting, simply logging off and on again also works.
    – nsane
    Oct 12, 2016 at 18:35
  1. In a terminal run:

    sudo adduser $USER vboxusers
  2. Reboot all systems.

id <username>

That will give you

uid=1000([username]) gid=1000([username]) groups=1000([username]),10(wheel),18(dialout),497(plugdev)

if vboxusers is missing in that then add it

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers [username]

This should resolve the issue


Would like to mentionn for those who no solution work like me, ensure you are part of the group vboxusers, if it does not exist, addgroup vboxusers.... after, delete in the host usb settings all the usb filters (devices) you have... reboot the guest In the host, use empty filters to recreate manually your devices, put any name just copy the two following fields from the original filter still available, restart your virtual guest.... voila, your devices are there ... its the only way i found to force them out of at least ten other solutions.. Enjoy

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