I am trying to get my Windows VM to access my USB pen drive, but I am having problems passing this USB over to the VM.

On my Linux host machine, I ran lsusb where my device was identified as

Bus 001 Device 018 : ID 8564:1000 Transcend Information, Inc. Jetflash

Looking at a few guides, I tried to pass this USB to kvm using

qemu-system-x86_64 -m 3G --enable-kvm "Windows 10.qcow2" -usb -device usb-host,hostbus=1,hostaddr=18

No matter what I try, I get the error saying "usb-host" is not a valid device.

I tried to change that to usb-storage, since that is the class of device I see for it when doing lsusb -t, but I don't know what to pass for Device ID..If I leave it blank, it says property ".drive" is missing, as expected.

I tried doing a ls /sys/bus/usb/devices which printed out some information like

1-0:10 1-1 1-1.1 ........usb1 usb2

But no matter which id I try and pass along in the command qemu-system-x86_64 -m 3G --enable-kvm "Windows 10.qcow2" -usb -device usb-storage,drive=<one of the above>,

it says no such property with given value exists.


  1. Should I be concerned that usb-host is not a valid device?
  2. What do I need to do to get usb-storage with device id to work?
  3. Does qemu-kvm support usb 2, 3 and streaming camera?

I'm using QEMU emulator version 4.1.0

  • The fact that you're getting a "usb-host" error may mean something. If you do qemu-system-x86_64 -device help | grep usb-host does it show up? If not you might need to recompile qemu. usb-storage is probably not what you want, that's for adding a file image as a usb storage device in the VM though maybe it can use a raw device. USB2 is supported. USB3 is not AFAIK but I haven't checked in a long time.
    – CR.
    Mar 8, 2022 at 20:15
  • usb-host is not among the possible domains names here if I execute a command like the on @CR. gave. Aug 10, 2022 at 15:11

4 Answers 4


just thought I'd put my two cents in. I was trying to add a usb printer to my VM and tried the whole "qemu-kvm" command route to no avail. I eventually just manually added the xml entry into my VM's domain xml following this libvirt link. On the host machine run:


Find the line that represents your usb device.

Bus 001 Device 003: ID 03f0:1617 HP, Inc LaserJet 3015

"ID" represents your vendor id and product id seperated by a colon. Then simply replace your devices vendor and product id in the xml code below (include the 0x for hex) and add it as an element with-in your VM's "devices" block:

<hostdev mode='subsystem' type='usb'>                                                            
  <source startupPolicy='optional'>                                                              
    <vendor id='0x03f0'/>                                                                        
    <product id='0x1617'/>                                                                       
  <boot order='2'/>                                                                              

Good luck and hope this helps. FYI, to edit your domain's xml file, run:

virsh dumpxml yourdomain

and then

virsh edit yourdomain

This will load the xml file you can edit.

  • nice! i just removed the <address type="usb" bus="2" port="3"/> from my previous config and press "apply" and the bus and port will be autodetected, when usb device itself is connected. While using virt-manager. Also, I would like to add, the bus=2 and port=3 does not apply on the host machine in either bus or port.
    – LAamanni
    Sep 21, 2023 at 19:15

If using a graphical front-end is okay for you, virt-manager's USB-passthrough works.

In the info section click add Hardware and select USB Host Device.

I use it to pass pen drives to Windows 10 guests and didn't encounter any problems until now.

If a USB device is added, the machine will not boot, when it is not detected. I.e. the pen drive has to be attached for the VM to boot.


I'm new to this platform, so forgive my formatting. As indicated before it all starts with


Get the bus and device numbers, in your case 1 and 18. Then, make a jetflash.xml file containing:

<hostdev mode='subsystem' type='usb' managed='yes'>
    <address bus='1' device='18'/>

You see where the numbers go! Now, to attach/detach to the running vmID:

virsh attach-device vmID /path/to/jetflash.xml
virsh detach-device vmID /path/to/jetflash.xml

I hope this helps.


I've had a very alike problem, however im using virt manager and i spent hours trying to figure out what could be wrong, initially i assumed something is wrong in my xml file. However I came to the realization that this problem appeared after running sudo pacman -Syu

For some reason this made my qemu-hw-usb-host go missing which caused usb host to not be recognized as a valid device name.

My solution was to reinstall libusb sudo pacman -S libusb (not sure if this was necessary) and then sudo pacman -S qemu-hw-usb-host

I hope this is a simple and helpful solution for anyone with this problem.

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