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Using USB 3.0 devices in Workstation on a Windows host (1025956)

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VMware Workstation 7.x and earlier

VMware Workstation 7.x and earlier detects and connects to USB devices attached through USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 host controllers only.

If a USB device is attached to the host machine through a USB 3.0 host controller, the device is not detected by VMware Workstation and cannot be connected to a virtual machine. VMware products use the default USB controller on the host, not the driver that comes with the USB hardware.

VMware Workstation 8.x

VMware Workstation 8.x is only compatible with the NEC xHCI driver and it supports connecting to USB 3.0 devices. Each USB 3.0 vendor implements their own drivers. VMware only supports NEC xHCI drivers. On Windows hosts, the connection will be USB 2.0. The workaround to connect to USB 2.0/1.1 is still applicable for unsupported vendors.

VMware only supports NEC xHCI drivers on Windows hosts, and this only supports USB 2.0 on these ports. As mentioned in the release notes, Windows guest operating systems do not support USB 3.0 devices.

VMware Workstation 9.x

For detailed information regarding VMware Workstation 9.x, see Host and guest OS USB 3.0 and virtual xHCI support with Workstation 9 (2041591).


To use USB 3.0 devices on unsupported configurations, connect the USB device through a USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 port on the host machine.

For machines that only have an Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) host controller, and that are using VMware Workstation 7.x and earlier, install a USB 2.0 extension card and host controller to use USB devices in virtual machines.

In Workstation 8.x, USB 2.0 devices can be connected through an xHCI controller on the host machine and passed to the virtual machine.

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see:


cannot-use-usb-device unsupported-hardware usb-device-drivers use-usb-device cannot-use-usb-scanner

Update History

07/19/2011 - added info on why USB 3.0 is not supported 09/30/2011 - Added WS 8 info regarding the NEC XHCI drivers 01/23/2013 - Added link to Workstation 9.x article

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  • 211 Ratings