Workstation Pro responds differently when you plug a USB device into a Windows host or a Linux host.

On a Windows host, by default, unless Workstation Pro is currently configured to remember a connection rule for a specific USB device, when you plug the USB device into the host system, Workstation Pro prompts you to select a machine to connect the device to. Workstation Pro connects the device to the machine you select, but a remember option is also available, which creates a USB device connection rule that, in the future, directs Workstation Pro to either automatically connect that device to the host or to a virtual machine, depending on the machine you selected.

On a Linux host, when a virtual machine is running, its window is the active window. If you plug a USB device into the host system, the device connects to the virtual machine instead of the host by default. If a USB device connected to the host system does not connect to a virtual machine at power on, you must manually connect the device to the virtual machine.

Also, on a Linux host, when you connect a USB device to a virtual machine, Workstation Pro retains the connection to the affected port on the host system. You can suspend or power off the virtual machine, or unplug the device. When you plug in the device again or resume the virtual machine, Workstation Pro reconnects the device. Workstation Pro retains the connection by writing an autoconnect entry to the virtual machine configuration (.vmx) file. If Workstation Pro cannot reconnect to the device, for example, because you disconnected the device, the device is removed and Workstation Pro displays a message to indicate that it cannot connect to the device. If the device is still available, you can connect to it manually. To connect a USB device to the virtual machine manually, select VM > Removable Devices > Device Name > Connect (Disconnect from host)

Follow the device manufacturer's procedures for unplugging the device from the host computer when you physically unplug the device, move the device from the host system to a virtual machine, or move the device from a virtual machine to the host computer. Following these procedures is especially important for data storage devices, such as zip drives. If you move a data storage device too soon after saving a file and the operating system did not actually write the data to the disk, you can lose data.