VirtualBox smart card reader access - a ‘how-to’ guide


1. Guide to using a smart card reader in VirtualBox
2. Software solution to forward USB smart card reader to virtual machine
3. Remotely access smart card reader over VRDP

Guide to using a smart card reader in VirtualBox

You may know that VirtualBox 5.0 comes with smart card reader passthrough support. Here are some simple instructions on how to connect a smart card reader in VirtualBox.

Using a smart card reader in VirtualBox
  1. To take advantage of USB 3.0 speeds you can optionally install the free VirtualBox Extension Pack.
  2. After the software is installed, start your virtual machine on Windows, Linux or any other supported guest OS.
  3. Connect your desired USB device to a USB port on your host machine.
  4. Then, go to Devices -> USB, and select the ‘USB device to share’.

When the connection is enabled you can access your smart card reader through VirtualBox. The shared USB device will be found by your virtual machine, enabling access to its full functionality from the guest OS. This allows you to connect to USB smart card readers from a remote location.

Please keep in mind that only one computer at a time can access the USB device.

Software solution to forward USB smart card reader to virtual machine

USB Network Gate by Electronic Team, Inc.

Many popular virtualization apps do not offer full support for local USB devices. USB Network Gate is a software solution to this problem.
USB Network Gate logo

USB Network Gate

Share USB over Ethernet on Windows
4.9 Rank based on 179+ users, Reviews(72)
Download 14-day trial, You can share only 1 local USB-device
USB Network Gate

Using USB redirection technology, this dedicated tool enables you to forward data from USB attached smart card readers over the Internet or LAN. You can use your guest OS to access USB devices that are not connected to your host OS, but rather are locally connected to a remote PC.

USB Network Gate

Here are the three steps you need to take to make this happen:

  1. Download and install the USB Network Gate application on the computer with the attached USB smart card reader.
  2. Share the device in the software interface.
  3. Install and start the app on a virtual machine and you can connect to the shared USB peripheral.

USB Network Gate is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.

Remotely access smart card reader over VRDP

Using VirtualBox gives you the ability to display a virtual machine remotely. Essentially, this means that a guest OS started on one machine can be displayed and controlled from another PC. VirtualBox accomplishes this by way of its VirtualBox Remote Display Protocol (VRDP). The fact that this protocol is backwards compatible with the Microsoft RDP protocol makes it the ideal solution if you need to access a virtual machine over an RDP connection.

What about VirtualBox remote smart card reader access? When your guest OS is displayed remotely as VRDP data is can connect to and access the USB devices on the remote computer as if they were locally attached to the VM’s real host. In this way VRDP makes it simple to use VirtualBox to remotely access USB devices.

USB Network Gate

Requirements for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): XP/Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019
Also available on macOS, Linux OS and Android , 5.4MB size
Version 9.0.2236 (8 May, 2020) Release notes
Category: Network Software