I have a pair of external USB hard drives which I use as a ZFS pool, accessible in Linux and OS X which is great. I want to be able to access the data from Windows as well however, and it has no native support.

My plan to deal with this was to install Ubuntu in virtualbox, import it there, and then share the folder which would allow the Windows host to read and write files. However, I can't even get Ubuntu to recognize that the USB device is plugged in right now so I get the following issues.

$ sudo zpool import tank cannot import 'tank': no such pool available

The disks are also absent from the output of $ sudo fdisk -l

I've installed the USB3 extensions and other USB devices plugged into the physical machine are readable from the guest.

My assumption is that since Windows completely ignores this USB device it cannot read, Virtualbox also doesn't know what to do with it and ignores it, but I don't know if there is any way to change this, or if what I am trying to do is impossible. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Does Virtualbox itself see the device in the list of USB devices (USB symbol in bottom right corner)? Does windows recognize a USB device at all (file system cannot be read, message will be like "corrupted disk found, would you like to format it?")? – user121391 Aug 22 '16 at 5:51
  • Sounds like your problem is with getting the external USB disks into the VirtualBox guest, and has nothing to do with ZFS per se. Correct? (Note that I'm not saying you might not also have ZFS-related issues, only that that is not the problem you have to solve first.) – a CVn Aug 30 '16 at 9:56
  • I would also be wary of running ZFS through a VM, that's a few too many layers of abstraction for my taste, but it's your data, and who knows, it might work just fine... – a CVn Aug 30 '16 at 9:57

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