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Cannot mount a USB key or disk device media to an ESXi/ESX host (1036340)

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Connecting a USB key or disk device media to the ESXi/ESX host fails.

Note: For additional symptoms and log entries, see the Additional Information section.


Restart the usbarbitrator service,  if you are unable to connect USB key or disk device media to an ESX/ESXi host.


This issue occurs because the usbarbitrator service has claimed the device to make it available for passthrough to virtual machines. You need to enable SSH / PuTTY for the host.


To resolve this issue,  restart the usbarbitrator service:
  1. Run this command to stop the usbarbitrator service:

    /etc/init.d/usbarbitrator stop

  2. Disconnect and reconnect the USB key or disk device media. The device is automatically mounted under /vmfs/volumes/NO NAME/.
  3. After using the device, start the usbarbitrator service by running this command:

    /etc/init.d/usbarbitrator start

Additional Information

You experience these additional symptoms:
  • This issue occurs when the USB key or disk device media is formatted with a FAT16 partition and is of maximum size 2 GB.
  • The USB key or disk device media appears under lsusb but does not mount correctly.
  • ESXi does not support NTFS formatted devices.
  • You may want to connect a USB key or a disk device media to the ESXi/ESX host to copy data to it from the host. For example, to gather the vm-support bundle from the host when the host has lost the network connectivity.


USB key, disk device media

See Also

Update History

10/14/2013 - Added ESXi 5.1 and 5.5 to Product Versions.

Request a Product Feature

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  • 89 Ratings