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And while USB drive passthrough is fairly easy to do with the GUI of VMware and Hyper-V when configuring a VM, that isn't the case with creating a VirtualBox physical disk, or a VirtualBox raw disk, Windows Server Tutorials in VirtualBox, as the process requires some CLI usage. VirtualBox can mount entire physical hard disks as well as only selected partitions of a drive.
In this tutorial, we will discuss two methods of VirtualBox USB drive access: with the help of special software and native mounting entire VirtualBox physical hard disks.
Table of contents:
USB Network Gate is a software solution that simplifies the implementation of VirtualBox USB passthrough on guest virtual machines. It is a flexible application that addresses the problem of obtaining USB connectivity when working in virtual environments.
Using USB redirection technology, USB Network Gate permits a VirtualBox hard drive’s data to be forwarded over the Internet or a LAN. Now you have access to USB drives from your guest VM, even when the device is plugged into a remote PC rather than your local host.
USB Network Gate is an excellent solution for diverse operating system environments. It offers cross-platform compatibility allowing you to forward USB data transmission between Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.
There are multiple methods of accessing the data on a hard drive from within virtual environments. One option is to use the contents of a physical drive to create a virtual hard disk image. At times, it may be more beneficial to mount or boot a physical hard drive directly from a guest VM.
VirtualBox enables you to mount all or part of a hard drive. You can designate specific partitions to be mounted or choose to use the complete disk. We will be discussing the method known as VirtualBox raw hard disk access. This is where the whole VirtualBox physical hard drive is mounted. The advantages of this method include giving users the ability to boot their system from an external USB drive or additional hard disk.
We will demonstrate how to accomplish this on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux host operating systems.
Note: You should always backup your data before attempting to mount drives or partitions in your virtual machine. Avoid mounting or booting the partition running the host operating system, as it may result in substantial data corruption.
Windows: Open Disk Management where the drive numbers will be displayed on the left side. They will be identified as PhysicalDrive0, PhysicalDrive1, etc.
Mac OS X: Enter the “diskutil list” command which returns a list of the available disk partitions. The drive names will be displayed in the format
/dev/disk0, /dev/disk1, and so on.
Linux: To list the partitions in Linux, the
“sudo fdisk -l” command is used. The format for disks in Linux is
dev/sda0, dev/sda1, etc.
“cd C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox”.
For Windows: VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename
"C:\Users\<user_name>\VirtualBox VMs\<VM_folder_name>file_name.vmdk" -rawdisk \\.\PhysicalDrive#
For Mac OS X: VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename
"</path/to/file>.vmdk" -rawdisk /dev/disk#
For Linux: VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename
"</path/to/file>.vmdk" -rawdisk /dev/sda
The VMDK that is created is a small file that acts as a pointer to the physical hard drive. To use the disk, you just attach the VMDK to your virtual machine. Perform the following steps after opening to VirtualBox GUI.
Your virtual machine can now boot from the physical drive associated with the VMDK file.