Virtualbox 6.1 Mac Host & Windows 10 Guest USB Passthrough Problem

I’ve used Windows hosts on a Mac in virtual box for years, but the other day I had to set one up quickly on a spare machine to make an installer USB for a Windows 10 PC. I won’t go into the VM setup process, as that’s pretty well documented, but the USB problems I had were much harder to track down.

TL;DR

Install the Extension Pack on the host (Not guest additions in the guest, although you should do that anyway)

USB Passthrough

It’s common for a VM guest to need access to one of the host USB devices. In this case a USB stick.

I had everything setup as normal, used a filter to select the USB stick I wanted to pass into the VM, the Windows VM could see the USB appear in Device Manager but it had a dreaded “unable to start device” ??

Why?

For some bizarre reason, the default virtual USB hub is just USB 1.1. After installing the extension pack, I could select USB 2.0 or 3.0 and voila, the USB stick mounted as normal (and I could proceed to create the install USB).

I’m not sure if I already have this installed in my usual VMs and that’s why I’ve never had the problem, or if something is different about this setup, but it totally fixed my problem.

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Dan Dilloway

When I'm not recovering data for Dataquest, I'm usually either riding my bike, writing blog posts or DIYing.