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

2 Answers 2


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.

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