USB passthrough in VMWare ESXi

Posted on 2012-09-08
Last Modified: 2012-09-25
We had been using USB passthrough use a USB hard drive with a VM. The machine was properly rebooted after all VMs were shut down. Once the server came back up, we powered up our VM which we were using the USB hard drive with and found that we had no USB hard drive available.

We checked settings within vSphere, all are correct, vSphere does not see the USB drive or any other USB drives plugged in. We logged into the machine using SSH and tried to get output of lsusb but since ESXi uses a custom version of busybox, that command is unavailable.

Other USB devices are working on this server (keyboard & the USB key that ESXi is installed on)

How can we get USB passthrough working again?
Question by:trusnock
    LVL 116

    Expert Comment

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    See my EE Article

    HOW TO: Add and Connect a USB Device to a Virtual Machine, hosted on VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX 4.1 ESXi 4.1, ESXi 5.0

    also check the server logs, in \var\log and look at the usb.log, to see if the usb device is being detected.

    Author Comment

    This machine was running off of a USB stick with ESXi installed on it. This was our second install on this machine, the first being on a sata drive.

    I discovered that it is not just USB pass through that is having an issue, it is all USB connections while in ESXi, meaning the KVM it is hooked up to sending USB keyboard to the ESXi server was not working either. I was able to get into the control panel for the KVM with no issues.

    I booted up with our old install and everything works fine, it will mount USB drives and you can see that it is seeing them in the logs.
    LVL 116

    Accepted Solution

    it's possible that the USB installation on a USB stick is causing that USB root hub the stick is installed into, not to be available to any other USB device.

    Author Closing Comment

    This was the case. Thank you very much.

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