Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)
View by Article ID

Troubleshooting USB device connection and functionality in a Fusion virtual machine (1027964)

  • 28 Ratings


  • The USB device does not appear in the list of USB devices.
  • The USB device connects to the virtual machine, then disconnects.
  • The USB device stops working in a virtual machine.
  • The USB device behaves erratically in a virtual machine.
  • The USB device connects to the virtual machine, but is not detected by Windows or a third-party application.
  • Your receive one of these error:

    • Unable to connect the USB device "" to the virtual machine (error code 13)
    • The device "device name" was unable to connect to its ideal host controller


This article provides the general steps to troubleshoot USB devices in Fusion virtual machines. The listed steps are appropriate for all cases, and the articles in the Additional Information section provide resolutions for specific cases.

For general instructions for connecting a USB device to a Fusion virtual machine, see Working with printers, disks, and other devices in VMware Fusion (1014523).


Each step below provides instructions and a link to a document, for performing the step and taking corrective action as necessary. The steps are ordered in the most appropriate sequence to isolate the issue and to identify the proper resolution. They are also ordered in the most appropriate sequence to minimize data loss. After completing each step, try connecting/using the device again. Work through each troubleshooting step in order, and do not skip a step.

Note: Fusion 4.1 resolves many USB connection issues. If you are running Fusion 4.0, upgrade to the latest version of Fusion. For more information on upgrading Fusion, see Uninstalling, reinstalling, and upgrading VMware Fusion (1014529).

To troubleshoot issues with a USB device:

  1. If you have upgraded to OS X Lion (10.7), ensure that the permissions on your root directory are correct. For more information, see USB devices fail after upgrading to Mac OS X Lion (10.7) (2004687).

  2. If you are using Fusion 4, and see error code 4, repair the USB arbitrator service. For more information, see Attaching a USB device to a virtual machine in Fusion 4.x fails with an error code 4 (2007368).

  3. Ensure that your device is supported and connected properly. Follow the instructions in Apple Knowledge Base article HT1151.

    Note: The preceding link was correct as of November 19, 2014. If you find the link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

  4. If the device is plugged into a hub, unplug it from the hub and plug it directly into the Mac.

    Note: If the step does not resolve the issue, but a later step does, try using the hub again.

  5. Unplug all USB devices from your Mac, including any keyboards or mouse, and plug the device into the Mac again.

    Note: If the step does not resolve the issue, but a later step does, try plugging the other devices into the Mac again. The issue may persist if the problematic device is not the first USB device plugged in to the Mac.

  6. Turn off the device using the on/off switch. Shutdown your Mac. Turn on the device again, if possible. Turn your Mac back on.

    Note: Ensure to shut your Mac down and turn it on again even if your device does not have a power switch.

  7. Re-install VMware Tools in the virtual machine. For more information, see Overview of VMware Tools for VMware Fusion (1022048).

  8. Ensure that the necessary drivers are installed in Windows. For more information, see A connected USB storage device is not displayed in a Windows virtual machine (1004584).

  9. Remove and re-add the USB Controller from the virtual machine. For more information, see the Fusion Help topics Remove the USB Controller and Add the USB Controller.

  10. Determine whether the USB device needs extra configuration. For more information, see Troubleshooting USB devices using USB quirks in Fusion (1025256).

  11. If your device does not appear in Fusion's list, modify your .vmx settings to display all devices detected. For more information, see Connecting a second mouse or keyboard directly to a Fusion virtual machine (1003418).
  12. If your virtual machine detects your USB ports as low-speed ports, ensure that USB 2.0 support is enabled in the virtual machine settings. To enable USB 2.0 support, go to Virtual Machine > Settings, select USB & Bluetooth, expand Advanced USB options, and select USB 2.0 support under USB compatibility.

  13. Ensure your USB ports are in working order by running Apple Hardware Test. For more information, see:

    • MacBook Airs – Apple Knowledge Base article HT2644
    • All other Macs – Apple Knowledge Base article HT1509

  14. Reset your Mac's PRAM. For more information, see Apple Knowledge Base article HT1379

Note: The preceding links were correct as of November 19, 2014. If you find a link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.

If you get an error code 13, follow these steps: 

  1. Shutdown the Virtual Machine
  2. Click on Virtual Machine > Settings > USB & Bluetooth
  3. At the bottom of the pane click on Advanced USB options
  4. Remove and re-add the USB controller
  5. Start the Virtual Machine. 

If the issue continues to exist even after trying these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Shutdown the virtual machine.
  2. Enable USB Verbose Logging.

    For Fusion 6.x and earlier:

    For 7.x and above:
    • Click on Virtual Machine > Settings > Advanced
    • Select Enable USB verbose debugging

  3. Enable debug logging for the virtual machine.

    In Fusion 4.x and earlier, select Preferences from the Fusion menu and then select the Enable debugging checks option.

    In Fusion 5.x and above, ensure that the virtual machine is shutdown, go to Settings > Advanced,and set Troubleshooting to Performance or Hang/Crash.

    Select the appropriate option from dropdown:

    • Select Performance if you experience performance related issue with your virtual machine.
    • Select Hang/Crash if you experience a hang or crash issue with your virtual machine.

  4. Power on your virtual machine.
  5. Connect the USB device to your virtual machine.
  6. Collect the VMware support information. For more information, see Collecting diagnostic information for VMware Fusion (1003894).
  7. File a support request with VMware Support and quote this Knowledge Base article ID (1027964) in the problem description. Attach the support information you collected to the Support Request. For more information, see Filing a Support Request in My VMware (2006985).

After collecting the support information, go to VMware Fusion > Preferences and deselect Enable debugging checks (Fusion 4.x) or go to Settings > Advanced and set Troubleshooting to None.

Additional Information

USB 3.0 devices may not be recognized, or may malfunction, when connected to Windows 7 or earlier. Windows 7 does not include native support for USB 3.0 devices.
Workaround: Ensure the Settings > USB And Bluetooth > USB Compatibility is set to USB 2.0, then connect the device to your Mac using a USB 2.0 hub or USB 2.0 cable to force USB 2.0 mode.

If you encounter a specific issue or error with your USB device, see:


access-external-drive access-external-drive cannot-use-usb-device use-usb-device

See Also

Update History

04/02/2011 - Updated instructions for filing a Support Request. 11/10/2011 - Added instructions for Fusion 4 and Lion. 12/15/2011 - Added information that Fusion 4.1 resolves many USB connection issues. 12/22/2011 - Added instruction to reset PRAM. 01/05/2012 - Added instruction to enable USB 2.0 if ports being detected as low speed. 08/23/2012 - Added Fusion 5.x to Product Versions. 09/09/2013 - Added VMware Fusion 6.x to Product Versions. 08/25/2014 - Updated for Fusion 7.x

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


  • 28 Ratings

Did this article help you?
This article resolved my issue.
This article did not resolve my issue.
This article helped but additional information was required to resolve my issue.

What can we do to improve this information? (4000 or fewer characters)

Please enter the Captcha code before clicking Submit.
  • 28 Ratings