Using USB 3.0 drives in VirtualBox, kinda
For much of the morning, I’d been battling with a Windows 7 Enterprise guest on a VirtualBox Mac. For some reason, Windows 7 gave this all too familar warning when attaching an external USB notebook hard drive:
USB Device Not Recognized
One of the USB devices attached to your computer has malfunctioned, and Windows does not recognize it. For assistance in solving this problem, click this message.
So much changes, so much stays the same.
At first, I assumed it was because I’d forgot to install the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack. Alas, installing this, enabling the USB 2.0 controller in the Ports screen, rebooting the VM into safe mode, and reinstalling the Additions didn’t fix it.
Turns out, I was using the USB 3.0 controller with VirtualBox, which is unsupported. The good news is TBFed (up?) offered a workaround on the issue’s bug report:
One of the comments in the thread made me think of my old 4-port USB connector. So I plugged IT in to the mac, and plugged the USB3 drive into IT — anv voila, the VM sees it and can do whatever it wants to with it!
Unfortunately, I only had an unpowered USB 2.0 hub, which didn’t provide sufficient power to the drive, even when it was the sole device. If the point was to expose it as a USB 2.0 device though, would using a USB 2.0 micro connector work?
Sure enough, after doing this the Windows 7 guest could detect the drive, install drivers and mount as normal.
It’s curious that VirtualBox detects and allows USB 3.0 devices to be added to the USB filter, despite not supporting it.