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VMware Horizon View USB Redirection: Making It Work

Editorial Team Editorial Team
Jul 10, 2023

Using USB peripherals that aren’t USB memory sticks on a VMware workstation as your VM may just refuse to see them. To fix this issue, you need to set up VMware USB passthrough with a purpose-built app or a dedicated VMware feature.

From this article, you will learn more about USB redirection in VMware, setting a USB controller in the passthrough mode, troubleshooting the VMware Horizon USB unavailable mistake, and a budget-friendly third-party USB redirector.

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USB Redirection
Hassle-free VMware Horizon View Redirection
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Connecting a USB device to VMware Horizon

Make sure to only use the Horizon client app downloaded from the official website

VMware USB redirection component, formerly known as VMware View USB redirection feature, allows you to access removable devices plugged into your local machine’s USB ports from the guest operating systems of a VM running in VMware ESXi, VMware vSphere, or other virtualization environments. And, unlike task-specific apps, this feature is by no means a one-stop solution.

Due to major lags caused by network latency, this feature works best if you're adding USB storage to your VM or need to use a USB memory stick there. And that's a huge disappointment, especially given the several-thousand-dollar price of the VMware Horizon Client.

Horizon Client’s USB redirection feature limitations

❌ This feature is unusable for audio, video, and other devices that require good bandwidth capacity for correct operation.

❌ You can’t operate a remote desktop with a redirected controller due to massive latency lags.

❌ Once redirected to a remote desktop or published application, a USB device becomes inaccessible from your host machine.

❌ Don’t enable autoconnection if you have a USB device that requires MTP drivers, or it won’t work on your VM until you replug it and then redirect again from the menu.

❌ If the device you’re redirecting needs a specific driver, it won’t work until you install that driver on every VM that is going to connect the device.

❌ You can’t use this feature to redirect a scanner as it becomes unusable. Please try the scanner redirection feature instead.

❌ You must have administrator privileges to format a redirected USB drive from a VM.

❌ If you manually redirect Android-based devices, they won’t work until you restart the VM.

❌ Don’t use this feature to redirect non-PCI USB controllers like Fresco Logic F-One Controller, as it gonna disconnect all the redirected devices from that VM.

❌ Do not redirect a USB Ethernet device, or your host will be disconnected from the network.

❌ By choosing to redirect a touch screen device, you will disable the VM’s other controllers for the whole session time.

Try VMware USB Redirection app
14-day free trial

Setting up VMware USB redirection

Here is what you’ll need to configure Horizon Client to automatically connect a USB device to a VM:

  1. Check with the Compatibility Guide to make sure VMware supports your specific USB device.

  2. If you are not sure you have the USB Redirection component, you need to reinstall your Horizon Client.

  3. Use Group Policy settings to configure your Horizon Client.

  4. Launch Horizon Client and connect to a VM’s guest system.

  5. Go to USB Devices on the menu and enable Autoconnect USB Devices when Inserted and Autoconnect USB Devices at Startup.

  6. Attach the USB device you want to redirect to your host’s USB port.

Sometimes that auto connection feature just won’t work. In that case, you can try to redirect the device manually. Here is how it’s done:

  1. Attach the USB device you want to redirect to your host’s USB port.

  2. Run the Horizon Client and click USB Devices on the menu.

  3. Find the device you want to redirect on the list and click on its name.

  4. Wait up to 20-30 seconds.

  5. If no device appears on your VM’s desktop or you're not prompted to install any drivers, unplug the device from the host and try repeating the procedure all over again.

Ways to fix a failed Horizon USB redirection

It’s not uncommon that Horizon wont detect USB even if the peripheral you’re sharing meets all requirements and you’ve done everything correctly. Here is a list of the most common causes and ways to tackle them:

Problem’s root Possible solution
Closed VMware Horizon ports Open all of these ports: TCP 389, 443, 4001, 4002, 4172, 8443, 32111, UDP 4172
Default filter Open registry and correct the mistakes using the guide on USB settings
Latency lag Switch to VMware Blast or PCoIP and disconnect traffic-consuming devices
Certificates Run certlm.msc on your host, delete all the certificates with your host’s name and reboot.
Device’s specifications Replace your device with a similar one that fully complies with industry standards
FAT32 Format your USB flash card to NTFS
Missing drivers On your VM, reinstall VMware View Virtual USB Host Controller and VMware View Virtual USB Hub drivers
Access conflict Check the log for vmware-view-usbd entries to see if the device is in use on the host

A budget-oriented tool for VMware USB redirection

USB Network Gate is a purpose-specific software tool you can use to redirect all the removable devices plugged into your host machine’s USB ports to your VMware ESXi or VMware vSphere virtual machines.

USB Network Gate has a user-friendly, intuitively comprehendible user interface

How to connect USB to VMware using USB Network Gate:

Install USB Network Gate on the host and VMware VM.
On your host, start UNG and share your USB device.
On your VMware ESXi guest OS, start UNG and connect the shared device. You’ll be able to use it as if it was directly connected to your VM.

It’s really this easy.

Watch our USB pass through VMware video guide

UNG logo
USB Network Gate
Redirect USB over Ethernet on Windows
4.9 Rank based on 372+ users, Reviews(372)
Try for Free 14-day trial, You can share only 1 local USB-device
 USB for Remote Desktop

Here’s what makes USB Network Gate so great for VMware USB redirection:

Versatility: UNG works for any USB-based physical device and across all operating systems.

Usability: UNG is very easy to install and use, and you won’t have to manually enable the USB arbitrator feature (or even know what a USB arbitrator is).

Fleetness: redirect a USB hub or an XHCi controller, so any physical device plugged into it will be instantly available for connection for any of your ESXi VMs.

Just install USB Network Gate on your host and guest systems, and you won’t have any problems with accessing a USB peripheral from within a VM session ever again.

USB Network Gate

Redirect USB devices over network
14-day Free Trial available
License price starts at $159.95
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