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I have started using VirtualBox in Windows 7 out of curiosity and for testing purposes. (Mainly, I want to test Linux distros and to try and see how Windows works in this environment - so that I might use VB in the future in Linux and Mac, etc).

I have installed Windows 7 in this VB.

enter image description here

I cannot use my Samsung 500 GB FAT32 external drive in this virtual Win7.

I have connected the drive and have checked the USB under the settings of the virtual Win7.

enter image description here

I have also selected the drive in the right-click menu of the virtual machine's USB tray icon.

enter image description here

After this action the Samsung external HDD stops also being accessible from the host (non-virtual) Win7. (Unchecking this and refreshing the host Win7 Windows Explorer page would usually make it accessible again in the proper/host Win7.) At all times, the external drive is not accessible in the virtual machine.

What to do?

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Full USB support is not provided without installing also the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack. To install, click Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack - Read more here.

Then shutdown the guest OS and restart the virtual machine.

Then, just enable USB 2.0 Controller.

enter image description here

Adding USB filers is not in fact necessary, just connect your devices and check them in the right-click menu of the virtual machine's USB tray icon - as seen in the last image posted in the question body. In a few seconds they should be accessible just like in the host Win7 system.

As long as the external drive is selected in the virtual machine it cannot be accessed from the host system. This is the expected behavior.

VirtualBox Extension Pack is also needed for other USB operations, namely installing and using printers, faxes and scanners.

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It is not quite clear whether your USB external drive is USB 2.0 or USB 3.0. It seems that USB 3.0 is still not supported in VirtualBox. I have found a workaround for this issue. I am connecting my USB 3.0 external hard drive via an USB 2.0 extension cable to the laptop's USB 3.0 port. At least it works for me. I have tested it on Windows 8, Windows Sever 2012, Ubuntu 14.04/14.10 VMs.

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