How should I transfer files from Windows to Ubuntu installed on Virtualbox? When I plugged in a USB, it only pops up in Windows.

How can I see it in Ubuntu?

  • 1
    I would love to do the opposite
    – user391339
    Mar 1, 2018 at 3:57

6 Answers 6


There are 2 ways, which I normally use

Option 1: Before booting up Ubuntu, inside Virtualbox Ubuntu VM settings, specify a share folder. Then after logged in to Ubuntu, create a new directory for example /media/vboxshared and mount that drive using the command sudo mount -t vboxsf SHARENAME /media/vboxshared. Enter your password when it prompts for the password.

Option 2: Before booting up Ubuntu, add a new Network adapter and select 'Bridged Adapter'. Then after logged in to Ubuntu, run the command ifconfig -a | more to get the ip address of that new network adapter. In Windows, use WinSCP or FileZilla to transfer the file to Ubuntu

  • 1
    Option 1 is not working for me! I get /sbin/mount.vboxsf: mounting failed with the error: No such device
    – J86
    Jan 29, 2015 at 11:59

Thank you for Alvin Sim's answer. Though it is clear, I still spend some time to do everything correct. OK, here are my detailed steps using Alvin Sim's Option 1.

  1. Before starting your Guest
  2. Go to VirtualBox Manager
  3. Select your interested Guest
  4. Go to Guest Settings
  5. In Guest Settings, scroll the left side-menu, and go to Shared Folders
  6. In Shared Folders, add your interested folder in the Host machine
  7. After adding your Host folder path, you will see an updated Folders List in Shared Folders. Remember your newly folder Name shown in this list. Say it is HOST_SHARE.
  8. Click OK and save your changes.
  9. Start your Guest machine
  10. In Guest machine, create a new folder, e.g. GUEST_SHARE
  11. In Guest terminal, type

    sudo mount -t vboxsf HOST_SHARE GUEST_SHARE`

    If you see the error mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on …, this means you first need to install virtualbox-guest-utils.

    sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-utils

    Then run the mount command again

  12. You shall find your stuffs in this GUEST_SHARE folder.

  • 1
    Still works as of Ubuntu 16.04, Windows 10, and VirtualBox 5.1.14
    – Lavamantis
    May 1, 2017 at 19:19
  • 2
    Thank you so much for the "wrong fs type" error mention; I kept getting this error no matter which guide I was following and was puzzled, but got everything working after this "apt-get". I am surprised this utility package is not mentioned anywhere else. It wasn't obvious for a newer user like me. Jan 21, 2019 at 18:02
  • 2
    Thank you! I found many other similar answers, but nobody else thought to mention the part about installing virtualbox-guest-utils
    – Shaul Behr
    Jan 23, 2019 at 12:36
  • Was encountering an error, fixed by making sure GUEST_SHARE and HOST_SHARE had different names May 18, 2021 at 17:51
  • Thanks you. After install virtualbox-guest-utils package everything works fine.
    – PhatHV
    Jul 16, 2021 at 4:07
sudo mount -t vboxsf SHARENAME /media/vboxshared 
  1. create your shared folder at your PC. for example "c:\SharedBoth"
  2. make sure you have selected your shared folder c:\SharedBoth at virtualbox menu "settings" - "shared folders" - "add" -"permanent/automount", before you start the ubuntu virtual machine.
  3. start the ubuntu terminal, type in command above,
    sudo mount -t vboxsf SharedBoth /media
  4. then check if folder sf_SharedBoth created in media folder Before you do the step 3, you need to make sure you have installed "guest additions"

In any case, you can easily make the USB key visible in the guest. From your question I imagine you run Ubuntu in a guest and the host is Windows.

Whenever you insert an USB key, if you want to see it in the guest proceed as follows:

  1. Cleanly unmount the USB from windows by clicking on the corresponding icon in the bottom right corner and selecting the "safely remove ..." option.

  2. In your VirtualBox window select the "Devices => usb devices" menu item on the top left guest window menu and select your USB key. It should appear in Ubuntu now.

This operation is equivalent to physically inserting your USB key in a USB port of your guest machine.

Otherwise, the other options are

  1. Shared folder as stated in laebshade's and Alvin Sim's answers. But that can be slow.

  2. FTP etc... as also stated in Alvin Sim"s answer (assumes you have an ftp server on your Windows host).

  3. A simple samba mount from the guest:

    mount -t cifs //winhost/share /home/yourname/mntpoint -o user=winusr%paswd,uid=0,gid=0,file_mode=0777,dir_mode=0777
  4. For small volumes and frequent synchronisation, open a dropbox account.

  1. In virtual box, login to Ubuntu.
  2. In menu bar click devices -> USB devices -> Select your device (Pendrive).
  3. Then go to the Home folder. On the left you'll see your device.

Which is the host, and which is the guest? Either way, Virtualbox has a sharing mechanism you can use; just install the Guest Additions as described in the documentation then setup a share in the VirtualBox configuration.

  • I went through that but when I tried to mount that I got an 'only root can do that' error. Jul 7, 2011 at 1:20
  • @laebshade: The OP already stated which way around this was in his question. Windows is the host, Ubuntu is the guest.
    – Caleb
    Jul 7, 2011 at 12:07

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