You can add one or more USB passthrough devices from an ESXi host to a virtual machine if the physical devices are connected to the host on which the virtual machine runs.

If a USB device is connected to another virtual machine, you cannot add it until that machine releases it.

Note:

If you have the Apple Frontpanel Controller device in your environment, you can safely add it to a virtual machine. However, this device has no documented function and no known use. ESXi hosts do not use it and do not provide Xserver functionality for USB passthrough.

Prerequisites

  • Verify that the virtual machine is compatible with ESX/ESXi 4.0 and later.
  • Verify that a USB controller is present. See Add a USB Controller to a Virtual Machine.
  • To use vMotion to migrate a virtual machine with multiple USB devices, enable all attached USB devices for vMotion. You cannot migrate individual USB devices. For vMotion limitations, see Configuring USB Devices for vMotion.
  • When you add a CD/DVD-ROM drive that is backed by a USB CD/DVD drive on the host, add the drive as a SCSI device. Hot adding and removing SCSI devices is not supported.
  • Verify that you know the virtual machine requirements for USB devices. See USB Configuration from an ESXi Host to a Virtual Machine.
  • Required privileges: Virtual Machine.Configuration.HostUSBDevice

Procedure

  1. Right-click a virtual machine in the inventory and select Edit Settings.
  2. On the Virtual Hardware tab, add a USB passthrough device to the virtual machine.
    Client Steps
    vSphere Client Click the Add New Device button and select Host USB Device from the drop-down menu.
    vSphere Web Client
    1. Select Host USB Device from the New device drop-down menu at the bottom of the Edit Settings wizard.
    2. Click Add.
    The new USB device appears at the bottom of the Virtual Hardware device list.
  3. Expand New USB Device, and select the device to add.
    You can add multiple USB devices, but only one device at a time.
  4. If you do not plan to migrate a virtual machine with USB devices attached, deselect the Support vMotion option.
    This action reduces migration complexity, which results in better performance and stability.
  5. Click OK.