Native methods for VMware USB pass-through
Adding a USB to a virtual machine by native methods is not a very complicated process but before you even start, please take into account some really important points:
- Native methods work best for redirecting PCI devices and USB memory sticks.
- If you pass through a USB hub, your VM won’t see the hub, only the peripherals connected to it.
- Every USB device can be only mounted to one virtual machine at a time. If your local USB device is currently connected to a virtual machine, you will not be able to add it to another one until the device is disconnected from the first one.
- VMware lets you connect a USB device to a guest OS only if it's attached to the host on which the virtual machine runs. That is opposed to dedicated USB pass-through software capable of working with any remote devices over the network.
So, here’s what you should do to redirect USB devices to VMware guest OS:
- Run this command to enable the USB arbitrator service:
- Log into your VMware vSphere Web Client and access your virtual machine Inventory.
- Open the list of virtual machines and select the machine that requires access to a USB device. Right-click and select the "Edit" settings.
- Select the “New device” menu and “Host USB device”. Select the “Add” option.
- Now select the device to be added from the drop-down list displayed and click OK.
If after this step ESXi USB passthrough is not working, go back to step 1 and try doing it all over again. Or consider getting a proper software tool (e.g. USB Network Gate to tackle any pass-through-related problems once and for all.
To unmount the device from your VM so others can use it, run this command to disable the USB Arbitrator service: