This is a quick and illustrated tutorial on how to read an USB disk into your virtual machine.
– HOST: Mac OSx Lion
– VIRTUAL MACHINE: Virtualbox by Oracle 4.2.xx
– GUEST: Ubuntu 12.04

Here I assume you have already installed your virtualbox into your mac. You have also created a partitioned disk and installed Ubuntu. The following tutorial will guide you through how to read USB disk into your guest operating system (in this case Ubuntu, but it also works for Windows XP and others)

1. Install the Guest Addition both for the osx and the linux system.
Go to Oracle webpage for virtualbox, download the Guest addition extension (here ). Then open VB and go to preferences and look for the extension tab. Upload it. See picture below

Go to the VB, open Ubuntu. Open “System Setting” and choose “Additional Drivers” and it will install the Guest Additions Package (see picture below);

Alternatively, go to the bar menu of the virtual machine, DEVICE tab and then choose “install Guest Additions” (see picture below)

Now the two operating system have all what is required to communicate between them. Let’s now see how to make USB disk appearing in UBUNTU as it took some time to me.

2. Reading USB disk
I have now plugged my USB drive “GhostKing”. As you can see in the image below, it was captured by the host operating system (mac osx)! and it does not appear in the ubuntu system! (see picture below)

Now you have to eject from the mac osx system without physically unplugging the usb disk!!! just click the eject button in the Finder! but unfortunately this is not enough to make the usb disk readable to Ubuntu as you can see from the picture below

What you need to do now is to add the usb drive into the USB filter of the virtual machine. Here it is how:
go to Ubuntu; the virtual machine toolbar reports the tab DEVICE (the same tab already used before as an option to install the Guest Additions). In the tab DEVICE (see picture below)

a pop up window provides you with the usb filter (USB Devices). Now choose the “GhostKing” usb disk from the list. This is the same usb disk previously appearing in the mac osx system and ubuntu will now mount it.

You’re done! Enjoy

PS: the procedure for the CD/DVD optical reader is the same! you need to unplug it from the host operating system if you want ubuntu to read it!

Tag: virtual machine; virtual box; host mac osx; guest linux ubuntu; guest additions package; problem reading usb disk in the guest operating system.