Connecting an USB storage device to a vmware guest

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Although the instructions herein might apply to other releases of software this article assumes that you are using Windows 7 64bit as a host operating system, VMWare Server 2.0.2 and Ubuntu 10.04 as guest operating system. It is also assumed that the guest operating system is installed and working.

Note that when the usb storage device becomes available to the guest operating system, it becomes unavailable to the host operating system. So you should save and close any file/document open from the same storage device.

Before you start, make sure the guest virtual machine is stopped and logout from VMWare server.

Start by finding the vendor id and product id of the storage device. The best way to do this is to open the latest vmware log file. It is located in the same directory where the vmx files for the guest virtual machine are.

Once you have the latest vmware log file open, search for the string “USB: Found device” without the quotes.

You’ll find something similar to:

Sep 03 14:14:35.759: vmx| USB: Found device [name:Wacom\ USB\ Composite\ Device vid:056a pid:00d1 path:1/0/2 speed:full family:hid,hid-bootable]
Sep 03 14:14:35.759: vmx| USB: Found device [name:Seagate\ RSS\ USB\ Mass\ Storage\ Device vid:0bc2 pid:2100 path:1/1/1 speed:high family:storage]
Sep 03 14:14:35.759: vmx| USB: Found device [name:Realtek\ RTL8187\ Wireless\ 802.11b/g\ 54Mbps\ USB\ 2.0\ Network\ Adapter vid:0bda pid:8187 path:1/1/9 speed:high family:other]

From that listing you should be able to locate your usb storage device. Once you have found it, copy the vid and pid values from the respective line. For example:

vid:0bc2 pid:2100

Now, run notepad as administrator (right click on the Notepad icon found in Start > All Programs > Accessories menu and select ‘Run as Administrator’).

Click ‘Yes’ on the security question to allow Notepad to be run as administrator.

Now press Ctrl+O to open the vmx configuration file. On the lower right corner of the Open File dialog there is a combo box where, by default, “Text Documents (*.txt)” will be selected. Change that to “All Files (*.*)”.

Now locate the directory were your guest machine configuration files are (likely to be under C:\Virtual Machines) and open the file with .vmx extension.

Scroll down to the bottom of the file and enter the following on a new line (replace the contents within quotes with your vendor and product id found above):

usb.autoConnect.device0="vid:0bc2 pid:2100"

Save and close the file.

Now start your guest virtual machine. If you are using Ubuntu 10.04 your USB device will be automatically shown on your desktop.

You’ll also notice that a notification on Windows 7 will show up notifying you that a device driver for vmware was installed successfully.

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