VMware USB passthrough - a how-to guide

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  1. VMware USB passthrough - a software method
  2. How to connect USB to VMware
  3. How to enable VMware ESXi passthrough

Although virtualization is an extremely beneficial technology, there are some issues that can impact users working in virtual environments. One problem users must resolve is when their guest machine running VMware is not detecting USB devices. You cannot work efficiently using VMware Workstation if USB devices are not showing up in your system’s device manager.

Other issues related to peripheral devices include VMware USB redirection being implemented improperly, resulting in malfunctioning devices. You can also run into physical constraints based on the number of USB ports available to the virtual session. This article will discuss methods that can be used to eliminate these problems. We will show you how to connect USB devices to VMware virtual machines.

VMware USB passthrough - a software method


Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
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FlexiHub is a dedicated communication utility that allows you to implement VMware USB passthrough capabilities in your virtual sessions.

It’s an easy way to connect a USB device to a VMware virtual machine. USB over network software functions as a wireless connector between VMware sessions and USB devices attached to any network-connected computer. This includes the local host machine. The software is a great solution to the problem of how to connect USB devices on VMware virtual machines.

Follow these simple steps to implement VMware USB passthrough with FlexiHub.

  1. Firstly, you will need to register a FlexiHub account here.
  2. Start a free trial and download FlexiHub.
  3. Install it on the computer where the required USB device is connected physically.
  4. Download and install the program on a VM, launch it, and you will be able to connect to the required USB device.

As a cross-platform solution, FlexiHub can be used in diverse computing environments. It supports communication between any configuration of Windows, Linux, and Mac computers.

The primary benefit of FlexiHub is that it enables VMware USB 3 passthrough with remote USB devices using your local network, Ethernet or Internet connectivity. This enables you to configure USB passthrough VMware Workstation when you are not located anywhere near the equipment. All that is needed is to install the application on the host server and guest operating system.

Employing advanced port virtualization technology allows FlexiHub to enable VMware USB redirection on many devices that cannot achieve connectivity using native methods. Attempting to connect a keyboard with a bootable HID is not possible in VMware ESXi without third-party solutions. The same can be said for devices like video cameras that use isochronous data transfers. FlexiHub enables you to even redirect any type of iOS USB device to VMware virtual sessions.

How to connect USB to VMware

Here is how to connect USB devices to a VMware virtual machine running on VMware Workstation without additional software.

Vmware usb passthrough
  1. USB devices that are physically attached to a host computer are automatically connected to the guest system when the VM’s window is active. You can disable the auto-connect feature in the USB Controller panel in the Virtual Machine Settings Editor.

  2. When there are no available USB ports on the virtual machine at the time the device is connected, a dialog box will be displayed. You then have the choice of ignoring the new device or freeing a port by disconnecting a device. The device is connected to the host if you ignore it.

  3. You use the VM > Removable Devices panel to specify the USB devices that you want to connect to your virtual session. You can connect up to a maximum of two devices at a time. You cannot get around this limitation with a hub as the devices are counted, not the hub itself.

  4. A menu on your virtual machine shows the devices currently connected to the host computer and available to the guest VMware session. Connect by simply hovering your mouse over the menu and clicking on the desired device. When a new device is attached, selecting it disconnects the first peripheral in the list and connects to the new one.

You can manually connect to a device from your virtual session with the VM > Removable Devices menu. You will need to use this connection method if you have disabled auto-connect.

To release a device, just select its port and choose “None” in its menu.

How to enable VMware ESXi USB passthrough

Vmware esxi usb passthrough

These steps will enable you to redirect USB devices to VMware ESXi.

  1. Log into your VMware vSphere Web Client and go to your machine inventory.

  2. Open the Virtual Machine list and select the one that you want to use the USB device. Right-click your selection and choose “Edit”.

  3. In the “New device” menu, select “Host USB device” and click “Add”.

  4. You will be presented with a drop-down menu from which you can choose the device you want to add to the VMware session.


Requirements: Windows XP/2003/2008/Vista/7/8/10/Server 2012/2016/2019
Size: 7MB
Version: 4.0.12820 ()
User rating: (4.8 based on 78+ users )