I've got problems with adding USB devices in virtualbox when it's started as user. Starting it as root seems to work fine but when I start it as user, I get:

$ VBoxManage list usbhost
Host USB Devices:


Where as root I get:

$ sudo VBoxManage list usbhost
Host USB Devices:

UUID:               4483e9b4-ab99-45ff-ad5c-32b8c61971b9
VendorId:           0x058f (058F)
ProductId:          0x6362 (6362)
Revision:           1.0 (0100)
Port:               0
USB version/speed:  2/High
Manufacturer:       Generic
Product:            Mass Storage Device
SerialNumber:       058F63626420
Address:            sysfs:/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.0/usb1/1-1/1-1.1//device:/dev/vboxusb/001/003
Current State:      Busy

which results as <no devices available> in the virtiualbox UI (when started as user) I've added my user to the vboxusers group (and logged out & rebooted since multiple times):

$ groups ron
ron : ron sudo netdev vboxusers wireshark docker

I'm not exactly sure how to interpret the below info though:

$ id
uid=1001(ron) gid=1001(ron) groups=1001(ron)

I'm running the version: virtualbox-6.0_6.0.0-127566_Ubuntu_xenial_amd64.deb I downloaded from the virtualbox.org website. (I installed it with on top of the one I installed with apt from deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian xenial contrib)

My host is running xenial and my guest is Windows 10


I had this same problem and in my case it was because I had run out of inotify watches.

If this is the case you will see an error when trying to tail -f a long file, as suggested in https://askubuntu.com/questions/154255/how-can-i-tell-if-i-am-out-of-inotify-watches. You can then see which processes are consuming inotify watches with for foo in /proc/*/fd/*; do readlink -f $foo; done | grep inotify | sort | uniq | awk -F'/' '{ print $3}' | xargs ps, as adapted from Who's consuming my inotify resources?.

I eventually discovered this by doing sudo strace -f VBoxManage list usbhost 2> root.strace and doing a diff compared to the version running as a normal user.


The error is

[pid 21648] access("/dev/vboxusb", R_OK|X_OK) = -1 EACCES (Permission denied)

from my strace log.

So i modify the file /usr/lib/virtualbox/VBoxCreateUSBNode.sh for /dev/vboxusb permission.

Then, reboot your pc to solve this issue.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.