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Adding USB Hard Disk to ESXi 4.1

Posted on 2010-11-24
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Last Modified: 2016-06-26
We have ESXi 4.1 running on a Sun Fire X4170 server. A Windows XP guest machine is running inside the host. We connected a “Western Digital My Passport Essential 250GB 2.5 HDD” hard disk on the ESXi host and we are trying to make the guest Windows XP virtual machine to detect it.

This hard disk is listed in the HCL here http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1021345

On the guest Windows XP machine we have added a USB controller and when we try to add another device, under the “Choose the type of device you wish to add” window, we have “USB Device (unavailable)”

What could we be doing wrong?
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Question by:AJKBOC
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7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 34205507
The device may be on the HCL, but that doesn't mean it's a supported PASSTHROUGH device for USB. USB is still very much in its infancy with VMware...at least with its baremetal hypervisor. The key is to see if the HD is listed in the 'allowed' USB devices here:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1021345
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1022290


Regards,
~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 34205518
If you can't get it to work through the above, the only other option you have is using VMDirectPath:
http://www.petri.co.il/vmware-esxi4-vmdirectpath.htm

or, AnywhereUSB by Digi:
http://www.digi.com/products/usb/anywhereusb.jsp#overview

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:AJKBOC
ID: 34205547
The disk is listed in the first link you provided
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 34205563
Ok great; go through the 2nd KB to verify you've done the procedures correctly, although I know there's not much to it. If it doesn't work, try using VMDirectPath in the "Petri" link I gave.

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:AJKBOC
ID: 34205636
I would really prefer leaving the VMDirectPath as a final solution, because it will require a restart of the ESXi host, it doesn't support vMotion, and we specifically bought this hard disk because it is supported.

I went throught the steps in the second kb, but I still get “USB Device (unavailable)”
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Accepted Solution

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coolsport00 earned 500 total points
ID: 34206341
The underlying technology is the same as VMDirectPath. Click on Config tab and in the 'Hardware' box select 'Advanced Settings'. If you have a 'not supported' message there, then USB support will not work, and you'll have to use AnywhereUSB. You have to have a host that supports DirectPath for it to work. You can see this referenced in a Communities article:
http://communities.vmware.com/message/1589899

~coolsport00
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Author Closing Comment

by:AJKBOC
ID: 34316460
We'll propably use anywhereusb
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