USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Discussions related to using VirtualBox on Linux hosts.

USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby scj1091 » 15. May 2012, 23:26

I recently installed Precise (fresh install) 64-bit. I added the Debian/Ubuntu apt repository as suggested on the Linux Downloads page. I installed virtualbox-4.1 which installed v4.1.14-77440. I installed the extension pack as well. But when I run the VirtualBox manager, it gives me an error: Failed to access the USB subsystem. It suggests adding my username to group vboxusers, but that group does not exist. I tried running /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup, and /etc/udev/rules.d/10-vboxdrv.rules exists, but it made no difference. I tried creating a vboxusers group and adding myself to it, rebooted but still the same error message.
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Re: USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby Perryg » 15. May 2012, 23:53

In a host terminal run this:
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sudo usermod -aG vboxusers <your username>

Replace <your username> with the name you use to log in. Type your user password when prompted.


Be sure to log off and back in to finalize the change in permissions
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Re: USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby scj1091 » 16. May 2012, 00:06

Thanks for the reply Perryg, that's what I did. But the group didn't exist. So on the off chance that permissions were set for that group but it just didn't get created, I ran
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sudo groupadd vboxusers

and then
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sudo usermod -aG vboxusers <my username>

It didn't make any difference.
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Re: USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby Perryg » 16. May 2012, 00:17

Does id in a terminal list the vboxusers group for you? Did you remember to log off and back in? Sometimes it takes a reboot.

Also look at the following:
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VBoxManage list extpacks
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Re: USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby scj1091 » 16. May 2012, 00:25

I did reboot, I'm in the vboxusers group. VBoxManage list extpacks shows
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<username>@<hostname>:~$ VBoxManage list extpacks
Extension Packs: 1
Pack no. 0:   Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack
Version:      4.1.14
Revision:     77440
Description:  USB 2.0 Host Controller, VirtualBox RDP, PXE ROM with E1000 support.
VRDE Module:  VBoxVRDP
Usable:       true
Why unusable:
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Re: USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby Perryg » 16. May 2012, 00:35

What really concerns me is that you say you created the vboxusers group. This should not happen if you installed the official version of VBox from VirtualBox.org.
I know USB works in 12.04 as I use it. All that is required is your user name in the vboxusers group.

What I would do if it were me is uninstall VirtualBox, remove the vboxusers group, make sure that there is no group that says vboxusers and reboot the host.
Now when you install again watch for errors and then check if the vboxusers group gets created. If so add your user name and reboot. (don't forget to add the extpack).

Finally I would download the *.deb package that matches your host and use dpkg or gdebi to install and see if it creates the group. But under no circumstance create the group manually until you exhaust the above suggestions.
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Re: USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby scj1091 » 16. May 2012, 02:21

Well, I got no error messages when I originally installed, but I purged the apt cache and reinstalled and now it works. Go figure. Thanks for the help!
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Re: USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby fightling » 10. Sep 2012, 14:09

Same on my system (Core2/64bit/ubuntu12.04.1). USB is available if I start virtualbox from a shell window. weird. I don't know the reason.
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Re: USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby dstanley » 19. Sep 2012, 09:22

I had the same problem. Uninstall Virtualbox-4.2
Re install
Re install extension pack
USB should work. Weird, but it worked for me.

I followed this re-installation method the second time: liberiangeek_DOT_net/2012/09/install-virtualbox-4-2-via-its-repository-in-ubuntu-12-04/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LiberianGeek+%28Liberian+Geek%29
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Re: USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby snowvm » 13. Oct 2012, 05:55

I do not understand, what do you mean, log on and log off.

Perryg on 15. May 2012, 23:53;
In a host terminal run this:

Code: Select all Expand view
sudo usermod -aG vboxusers <your username>


Replace <your username> with the name you use to log in. Type your user password when prompted.


Be sure to log off and back in to finalize the change in permissions
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Re: USB not working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise)

Postby grewe » 6. Sep 2013, 18:00

Great stuff! These guidelines helped me to get my usb devices working on my vbox after I had been battling to do that for a long time.
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