Virtualbox 6.1 Mac Host & Windows 10 Guest USB Passthrough Problem

I’ve used Windows hosts on a Mac in virtual box for years, but the other day I had to set one up quickly on a spare machine to make an installer USB for a Windows 10 PC. I won’t go into the VM setup process, as that’s pretty well documented, but the USB problems I had were much harder to track down.


Install the Extension Pack on the host (Not guest additions in the guest, although you should do that anyway)

USB Passthrough

It’s common for a VM guest to need access to one of the host USB devices. In this case a USB stick.

I had everything setup as normal, used a filter to select the USB stick I wanted to pass into the VM, the Windows VM could see the USB appear in Device Manager but it had a dreaded “unable to start device” ??


For some bizarre reason, the default virtual USB hub is just USB 1.1. After installing the extension pack, I could select USB 2.0 or 3.0 and voila, the USB stick mounted as normal (and I could proceed to create the install USB).

I’m not sure if I already have this installed in my usual VMs and that’s why I’ve never had the problem, or if something is different about this setup, but it totally fixed my problem.