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Virtualization is a great solution for maximizing hardware resources by running multiple operating systems on a single computer. Unfortunately, when you passthrough USB to VirtualBox, you won’t be able to access a USB security key to run a commercial software product. A frequent problem users face is the lack of reliable VirtualBox USB dongle connectivity.
VirtualBox USB passthrough can be implemented but only partially solves the problem. This technique only enables VirtualBox users to connect to security dongles attached to the host computer. We will now discuss two different methods of enabling VirtualBox USB device capture to access a security key: on the fly or with a filter.
After the USB connection is configured by VirtualBox, the guest operating system, such as Ubuntu, will recognize the dongle. You can verify this by executing the lsusb command and reviewing its output. It will typically recognize the dongle as ‘Philips Elite’.
A common misconception is that USB devices are easily used in virtual environments. Getting the host and guest operating systems to play together nicely requires navigating multiple software layers to eventually communicate with the drivers controlling the hardware resources.
On-the-fly is the first method of capturing a USB device in VirtualBox. Simply use the icon located on the bottom of the GUI’s window or menu and go to "Devices → USB → …” In the list that is displayed, captured devices are identified by the "✓" next to their name.
Using a USB filter is the second method of capturing a USB device in VirtualBox. Capturing with a filter is considered to usually be more effective and reliable than the on-the-fly technique. Using a filter, a VM that is up and running can immediately capture a dongle connected to the host OS. Filters work best if each device has an individual filter.
Note: If you are using a Linux host like Fedora or Ubuntu, you need to be a member of the “vboxusers” group. Verify membership in the group after you log out or reboot. You will not see the connected USB devices if you are not a current member of “vboxusers”.
You can select a name of your choice and obtain the VendorID and ProductID from the operating system.