I'm having trouble connecting USB devices (e.g. flash drives) to a Windows XP guest, on an Arch Linux host, running VMware Player. No USB devices appear anywhere in VMware, e.g. devices are not detected when I plug them in, and there is no section for USB devices in the removable devices menu. I can mount and use USB devices outside of VMware. I'm running a 3.1.3 kernel with VMware Player 4.0.1.

Here's what I've tried so far:

  • Mounted USBFS to /proc/bus/usb, then restarted VMware.
  • Checked that USB controller is "Present" in the VMware Virtual Machine Settings
  • Strangely enough, changing the USB controller compatibility mode from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 made it available in the Debian 7 guest. The external drive was plugged in in a USB 3.0 port. – Artjom B. Feb 26 '16 at 13:02

A bit late maybe, but I found this problem too, using Debian. Solution was simple: /etc/init.d/vmware-USBArbitrator start then restart VM.

More details at ArchWiki


I haven't had much experience with VMWare Player but on VMWare ESX you need to tell ESX to 'pass-through' the device to a specific VM. Is using USB devices even possible on Player?


Run vmware-usbarbitrator:

# vmware-usbarbitrator

To see what it is going on behind the scenes, run:

# vmware-usbarbitrator --kill && vmware-usbarbitrator -f

You may need to close and re-open player to see the changes.

Note the VMware Documentation is incorrect and outdated as it still refers to /proc/bus/usb which was removed in Linux kernel 3.5.

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