How to make smooth USB access available to Virtualbox vm

Polytropon freebsd at
Tue Jul 5 00:46:52 UTC 2016

On Mon, 4 Jul 2016 23:35:25 +0000, Manish Jain wrote:
> Hi,
> I am running VirtualBox under FreeBSD 10.2 amd64. I created a Windows XP 
> vm for some work I need to do. The vm needs data which I placed on a USB 
> pen drive. I added a filter under VirtualBox to pass the pen drive to 
> the vm and then started the vm. The pen drive for some reason is not 
> smoothly visible to the vm - the icon for removable drive in the vm 
> keeps coming and going every 1-2 seconds. I think the problem is the 
> Gnome3 desktop environment and VirtualBox are competing for the USB pen 
> drive.

Yes, that is to be expected as such a configuration tends to do lots
of automount "magic" which is now turning against the user. :-)

> On the host FreeBSD system, I repeatedly get error messages 
> "Unable to mount volume" - some error related to HALD. I tried setting 
> hald_enable="NO" in /etc/rc.conf and then rebooted FreeBSD.

If I remember correctly, this doesn't have any effect, especially
if you have gnome_enable="YES" defined.

> Upon 
> restart, the situation remains the same - the vm does not see the pen 
> drive long enough for the data to be copied out.

As far as I know, HAL - at the point where it was fully supported - has
been EOL'd in Linux and is therefore mostly useless in FreeBSD. The
problem you see probably is related to the Gnome 3 removable media
subsystem, the "automounter". If you want to exclusively allow USB
access to mass storage to the "Windows XP" VirtualBox instance, you
need to disable that device inside Gnome, i. e. keep Gnome from trying
to access it.

Here is an instruction on how to do it (even though it is related to
Ubuntu, it should work similarly on FreeBSD/VirtualBox):

Allow me to quote the relevant text section:

	Select host USB device for access from the guest

	To grant access to USB devices we need to select a device to
	disable in the host and to enable in the guest (this is a
	precaution to avoid simultaneous access from host and guest).
	This can be done from the panel Devices menu or by right
	mouse click in the bottom panel of the Virtual Box Manager
	on the USB icon:


	Tick the device you need in the guest, untick it if you need
	it in the host. The selected device will immediately be
	accessible from the guest. A Windows guest may need additional


	Windows 10 may not accept an NTFS formatted USB pen drive.

End quote.

Also check out the next section in that document which shows how to
make certain settings permanent, which probably is more useful for
printers and scanners than for removable media, but might be handy
if you're going into "USB thumb drive exchange rage" mode. :-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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