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XenServer USB Passthrough - A Detailed How-to Guide

Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Mar 24, 2021

If you are one of those people who is looking for a way to enable Citrix XenServer USB support, then we’ve written this guide for a good reason.

In this article, you’ll find out about two simple ways to enable XenServer USB passthrough, and how to fix any possible issues that could come along the way.

USB passthrough to XenServer - the most versatile method


Windows, macOS, Linux, Android
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FlexiHub is a simple yet powerful software that will help you access any kind of USB device inside Citrix XenServer without the common hypervisor restrictions.

FlexiHub has an intuitive interface and offers an advanced functionality that allows XenServer access to local USB devices.

When you find yourself in a situation when it is problematic to enable XenServer USB device passthrough, FlexiHub will help you to establish connections to real USB peripherals from your virtual machine with nothing more than a couple of mouse clicks.

Device Isolation for Multi-User Systems
Run a private FlexiHub session in a multi-user environment, with you being the only one who can access your USB and COM devices.

One of the biggest advantages of FlexiHub is that it works on Windows, Linux, Android, and Mac operating systems. This means you can easily connect USB devices from Windows to Linux, from Linux to Mac, and in other combinations.

How to pass through a USB device to XenServer

Register a FlexiHub account on the official website of the software.
 register flexihub account
In your user cabinet, select the subscription plan with the required number of connections, and start your FlexiHub demo period.

* Free 30-day demo, cancel any time.
 sign up flexihub demo
The next step is to download FlexiHub and install it on both your host and guest machines.
 download flexihub for xenserver
After that, launch the software on both systems and log in to the account you just created.
 login flexihub on xenserver
Once logged in, you’ll see the list of USB devices available for XenServer USB passthrough.
 passthrough usb to xenserver
On the guest OS, find the required device and click “Connect”.
 connect usb devices in xenserver

If you prefer the video guides, you can watch this step-by-step walkthrough:

Here you go! Now, the device that is attached to the host computer will appear in Citrix Hypervisor like it was connected directly to the guest.

Passthrough USBs to XenServer
30-day demo period

Enable Citrix XenServer USB support in the hypervisor

Another way to make Citrix XenServer USB passthrough possible is to configure XenServer to work with locally attached USB devices.

Here’s how you can access local USBs in XenServer:

  1. Attach a USB peripheral to the host where you run XenServer with the Enterprise Edition license, and you can see the USB tab with the USB devices list in the XenCenter.
  2. To allow XenServer to pass through USB, select the USB device you need, click “Enable passthrough” and choose “Yes, enable passthrough” in the window that will appear. enable usb passthrough in citrix xenserver
  3. Now, shut down the virtual machine that needs access to the USB device, as the hot plug option is not available.
  4. Once done, connect the USB peripheral to the VM. To do this in XenCenter, right-click the virtual machine -> open Properties -> select USB -> click Attach -> choose the device you are going to attach -> hit Attach. attach usb to xenserver
  5. Launch your guest OS to access the attached USB device.

Also, note that it may be necessary to install the device driver on the guest machine for the device to work correctly.

USB devices can be detached from a virtual machine while it is running.

Use the following procedure to detach a USB device from Citrix XenServer:

  1. From within XenCenter, right-click the VM.
  2. Navigate to Properties > USB > select the USB peripheral that will be detached.
  3. Click the Detach button and then Yes on the displayed pop-up window. detach usb xenserver
  4. Click OK to complete the process.

USB passthrough requirements for XenServer

You need to take note of these restrictions and operating system requirements when considering implementing USB passthrough on XenServer.

You can only use USB passthrough with these HVM guests.

  • Windows 7 SP1/8.1/10.
  • Windows Server 2008 SP2/2008 R2 SP1/2012/2012 R2/2016.
  • Linux: RHEL 7, Debian 8.
XenServer USB passthrough on macOS
30-day demo period
  • XenServer 7.5 and above.
  • XenServer Enterprise Edition or by using a XenDesktop/XenApp entitlement to access XenServer.
  • When implementing USB passthrough to a virtual machine, the Pool Migrate, Storage Migrate, Snapshot, and Suspend operations are not supported.

XenServer USB passthrough FAQ

Citrix Hypervisor (formerly XenServer) is a complex server virtualization platform with built-in enterprise-class features that allows you to easily manage mixed operating systems, storage, and data exchange configurations.

Citrix Hypervisor provides an efficient way of building a scalable system, as it can be used on the server hardware without any underlying OS.

This hypervisor is designed to virtualize hardware components like hard drives, ports, devices, etc. making them available to guest operating systems started on it.
This error indicates you have exceeded the maximum amount of USB devices that can be passed through to a specific VM. You can have up to six USB devices attached to the VM at the same time.
This error may be due to an improper license which disables the USB tab.

The USB tab doesn’t appear on XenCenter after connecting USB devices to the XenServer host. You need to use XenServer Enterprise Edition or access XenServer through a XenDesktop/XenApp entitlement when you want to implement USB passthrough functionality.


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