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I am running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS as a guest OS via VMware Player 3.1.4 build-385536 over Windows 7 Home Premium host OS. This runs on a HP Pavilion g7-1173dx laptop.

At the Virtual Machine... menu > VM Settings... dialog I see a USB Controller present in the Device list. In the Connections frame, the USB 2.0 device support in enabled.

However, on the Virtual Machine... menu > Removable Devices submenu I see no USB device entry.

Attaching a Sandisk Cruzer 16GB flash drive to the USB port, I can see the drive in Windows, but I can't see the device in the VM list.

Trying to connect an Altera FPGA dev board system to the USB port was not successful either.

When restarting the VM, I get the following error tooltip:

enter image description here

Other than that port, I have a USB keyboard and a USB mouse connected to the other 2 USB ports, both working well.

How can I make VMware Player recognize my USB devices?

EDIT 1:

Thanks to @Moab, I found out that the relevant service was indeed inactive. Its Startup type is "Automatic". I tried to manually start it and received the following error:

enter image description here

I am not sure what this means. The drive (configured as a U3 drive, BTW) is recognized in Windows.

EDIT 2:

Found this post on the VMware Knowledgebase. It suggests that on AMD based systems (like my g7) there may be a conflict with some AMD USB Driver Filter, and provides with removal instructions and a warning that it may disable other USB devices.

How safe is it to follow the steps suggested in the post?

  • Maybe you need to run VMware Player AS Administrator? – James T Snell Oct 5 '11 at 0:22
  • Maybe try running this VM in the evaluation version of VMware Workstation. – James T Snell Oct 5 '11 at 0:37
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    Check Windows Services and be sure VMware USB Arbitration Service is running, as the error message suggests. – Moab Oct 5 '11 at 0:40
  • @Moab - many thanks. The service was on "Automatic", but not started. When trying to start it manually, I get an error message. I will update the question. – ysap Oct 5 '11 at 0:50
  • I never consider anything safe, this is why I have backups of my system and critical personal data.. Make a full disk image pr two for disaster recovery purposes and then make a manual Windows restore point before you make any changes. – Moab Oct 5 '11 at 1:55
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OK, the problem seems to be a collision of the VMware USB Arbiter service with the AMD USB Filter Driver. I used the method described in section 5 to remove the filter driver using the AMD Catalyst uninstall wizard.

After removing the filter and restarting everything, a USB drive is now recognized and mounted by VM. I was able to play a MP3 file from the drive.

Note that as of now, I have not yet tested for any side-effects of the USB operation on the Win 7 system. Per the reference, there might be problems using USB devices after removing the filter.

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