It is actually a known fact that there is an issue with VirtualBox and the attached USB devices that many of us are trying to use in the virtual machine. Here is a real-life example:

I am a 100% Linux user and I have a photo printer that Linux can’t recognize. Let’s say that I want to print some photos quickly, to give them to someone. I have a Windows installation in a virtual machine just for this reason (sad, I know) and I want to access my printer, which is connected via a USB port. To my surprise, I can see the printer in the USB device list of VirtualBox, but I can’t access it (very frustrating). Firing up Firefox and searching on Google for a fix takes too long, because there are many old tutorials that teach you how to modify various files or change permissions, etc. What to do? Well, below is the answer to the endless VirtualBox – USB issue (and it’s pretty damn simple too!).

This tutorial was created mostly for my needs, but I am sure that many of you will find it very helpful. Ready?

This is how a default installation of VirtualBox in Ubuntu 9.04 shows the USB devices, and we need to fix it.

Step 1: Go to System -> Administration -> Users and Groups…

Step 2: Click the “Unlock” button…

Step 3: Type your password and click the “Authenticate” button….

Step 4: Click on the “Manage Groups” button…

Step 5: In the “Groups settings” window that will appear, scroll down until you see the vboxusers entry. Select it and then click on the “Properties” button…

Step 6: Another window will appear, called “Group ‘vboxusers’ Properties. Just check the box in front of your username and click the “OK” button when you’re done…

Step 7: Close the “Group settings” and “Users Settings” windows and log out. Log in and open up VirtualBox, start your virtual machine and you will see that you can now access the USB devices!

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