VirtualBox with USB Support on Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

There are two versions of Virtual Box:
– OSE (Open Source Edition) which is in the repos
– Closed Source Edition, or Standard, or just plain “Virtual Box”
OSE does not have USB support. There are a few other features from the closed source version that aren’t included in OSE, you can see the list here. So, if you want to have USB support in VirtualBox, you need to install closed source edition and make a change to /etc/fstab. Here are the steps:
1. Remove OSE
$ sudo apt-get autoremove virtualbox-ose
2. Add the VirtualBox repo for Intrepid Ibex. Click System > Administration > Software Sources. Click the ‘Third Party Software’ tab. Click ‘Add’ and enter:
deb intrepid non-free
Save the VirtualBox GPG key from here, then import it into Synaptic by clicking the ‘Authentication’ tab and then ‘Import Key File’.
Click the ‘Reload’ button in Synaptic to reload the repositories.
3. Install the latest virtualbox package (as of this writing it is virtualbox-2.2) by selecting it in Synaptic, or running this command from a terminal:
$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox-2.2
4. Add yourself to the vboxusers group:
$ sudo gpasswd -a YOURUSERNAME vboxusers
5. Find the devgid for ‘vboxusers’:
$ grep vboxusers /etc/group
It will return something like:
Add this line to the bottom of /etc/fstab, replace the devgid number with your devgid:
none /proc/bus/usb usbfs devgid=125,devmode=664 0 0
After you reboot you should now have USB support in VirtualBox.
Last tested on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope.


  1. This also works with version 2.1 of VirtualBox
  2. After modifying the /etc/fstab file, it’s not necessary to restart to enable the USB support in VirtualBox, you can just run “sudo mount -a”

About SoCRaT

Systems Engineer, OSS & Linux Geek
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