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How can I boot a VM off USB in VMWare Workstation 9? I don't see the USB I have attached in the bios boot order.

It's clearly attaching before boot, as this shows up before the VM even starts running: enter image description here

enter image description here

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Is USB icon in status bar active? And, you are talking about virtual BIOS of VM. Right? – SS-3 Feb 1 '13 at 19:17
@SachinShekhar Yup, it's connected. And yes, virtual BIOS. No, I'm not restarting my computer and entering the BIOS to configure my virtual machine. – Tanner Faulkner Feb 1 '13 at 19:25
up vote 14 down vote accepted

There is a workaround, in your virtual machine settings, add a new "harddisk", and when prompted to select the type, choose "physical disk" , and then point it to the usb stick.

This way, the usb will appear as a real drive to the virtual machine.

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Had to remove the USB controller to get this to work. I'm guessing it's because it didn't like attaching the same disk twice. I probably should have just removed the device itself from the VM but lazy. Thanks for the fix! – Tanner Faulkner Feb 1 '13 at 19:33
While I did greatly appreciate your solution, I just wanted to note for future users that this is a really, really messy way to do this. MBR ended up my flash drive somehow, and half the time it won't recognize the drive anyway. – Tanner Faulkner Feb 4 '13 at 23:16
@Tanner It work fine with me, however one thing you need to take care of, when you set it up, it is assigned to a specific physical device by number, like: Device: \\.\PhysicalDrive2, and when you remove it and/or restart the host computer, it might get assigned a different number and will require to re-create a new harddisk, and the old reference could be pointing to a totally different drive. – sharp12345 Feb 4 '13 at 23:54
Would this solution work if the USB stick had a filesystem unrecognized by Windows? – Anthony Dec 10 '13 at 11:53

You can use "Plop Boot Manager". See its features here.

  • USB boot without BIOS support (UHCI, OHCI and EHCI)
  • CD/DVD boot without BIOS support (IDE)

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