Use a USB device in a virtual machine

Applies To: Windows 7

Windows Virtual PC supports the use of USB 2.0 devices by sharing the device or by redirecting it to the virtual machine. The method to use depends on the type of USB device. When the Integration Components package is installed in the guest operating system, printers, storage devices, and smart card readers that are attached to the host are automatically shared with virtual machines. When drivers are installed in both the host and guest, no additional steps are required to use these types of USB devices, except for printers. For more information about configuring and sharing printers, see the Windows Virtual PC content (

For other types of devices, you can use them by redirecting them to the virtual machine. For example, you can redirect the following types of USB devices:

  • Digital cameras

  • MP3 players

  • Phone/PDA/mobile device

  • USB CD writer/reader

  • Portable media players

  • Wireless network adapters

  • Webcam/video camera


A redirected USB device can be used by only one operating system at a time, as mentioned in the following steps.

To redirect a USB device to a virtual machine

  1. Attach the device to the physical computer and turn on the device.

  2. From the virtual machine window, click USB and then click Attachdevice name. Windows looks for and tries to install the device driver in the guest operating system. You also can install the driver from the Internet or from a CD.

  3. After the driver is installed, you can use the USB device from within the virtual machine the same way as you would on a physical computer. However, USB devices that are connected using these steps are not shared, so they must be released from one operating system to be available for use on the other operating system.

  4. To make the USB device available on the host operating system, release it from the virtual machine. From the virtual machine window, click USB and then click Releasedevice name.


To redirect a USB device to a virtual application, attach the device and turn it on, right-click the virtual application icon in the task bar of the host, and then click Manage USB devices. Then, choose the device.

See Also


Using a virtual machine
Configuring a virtual machine
Install or upgrade the Integration Components package
Windows Virtual PC Help
About integration features