How to Enable USB Support in VirtualBox

How to Enable USB Support in VirtualBox

14 Comments on How to Enable USB Support in VirtualBox

This is a simple tutorial on how to enable USB support in VirtualBox.

Downloading Extensions
Download and install the Extension Pack from VirtualBox Downloads. Opening the file when it has downloaded should start VirtualBox and the installation process.

Added Users To Groups
You need to add your user to the vboxusers group. This can be done with the following command in the terminal

usermod bill -a -G vboxusers

Replace bill with your user name.

Restart your computer and Virtualbox will now allow you to connect USB devices to it.

About the author:

Bill Payne started working as a paid professional software developer at the young age of 12 years old developing simple games and other applications for pre-packaged computers. Bill has since developed software for many industries such as direct sales and the the stock market. Bill has now started sharing his many years of software development experience through a blog on the MPSHouse website and one on one lessons.


  1. Jukka  - 1 October , 2012 - 5:27 pm
    Reply /

    With Linux you don’t need to restart your computer, just logout and login again to have the new group membership active for your session.

    • bill  - 1 October , 2012 - 5:38 pm
      Reply /

      I was just trying to make it as easy as possible, thanks for the comment!

  2. Pete  - 2 October , 2012 - 1:39 am
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    No need to restart or to logout, just use : newgrp vboxusers

  3. vagabondo  - 2 October , 2012 - 12:42 pm
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    No Need.

    Since version 4.0.0 (GPL licence) VirtualBox has supported local guest USB without requiring an extension pack. The Oracle proprietary extension is used for providing remote VM support via VRDP. See section 3.10 of the VirtualBox User Manual.

  4. ethancooper  - 25 January , 2013 - 1:50 am
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    virtual box allow many user at same system with different AAA that is audition, authentication, authorization. This is the bets way to do work on same system on same OS with different OS and different user profile.

  5. Varun  - 27 April , 2013 - 9:15 am
    Reply /

    usermod: cannot lock /etc/passwd; try again later.

    This is what the terminak displays when i tried to execute ur command in the terminal…Could you help me please?

    • bill  - 27 April , 2013 - 1:01 pm
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      You need to run the command as an Administrator. if you are using Ubuntu use sudo.

  6. John Martin  - 10 July , 2013 - 6:29 am
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    My VirtualBox will detect the usb device, but it says it is not supported, and is greyed out when I run XP. I am using VirtualBox 4.2.16 on a 2007 iMac running Snow Leopard.
    I would appreciate any help.


    • bill  - 10 July , 2013 - 11:31 am
      Reply /

      Download and install the virtualbox extension pack and then enable the USB 2.0 (EHCI) controller. Let me know how you go.

  7. Moorthi Daniel  - 18 August , 2013 - 2:47 am
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    Thanks a lot. It worked.

  8. asif  - 29 October , 2014 - 5:09 pm
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    Thank you. it worked like a charm on ubuntu where my virtual box has linux mint running

  9. HAMburgers  - 27 February , 2015 - 1:12 pm
    Reply /



  10. Simon  - 6 November , 2015 - 1:59 am
    Reply /

    Hi There, Thanks for the tutorial, USB Settings Refuses to enable. Installed the VM VirtualBox Extension Pack, run the commands incase one didnt work properly

    sudo usermod -aG vboxusers
    sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers

    I am running Ubuntu 14.04 and Virtualbox from Oracle, not the Ubuntu Community Version. Please help, this is very frustrating, Thank you very much.

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