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Mac: how to get USB3.0 using Virtualbox and Windows

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#1 N_DD


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Posted 19 February 2016 - 05:28 AM

DISCLAIMER: I don’t want this thread to become yet another Mac vs. Windows battle! Please refrain from commenting anything not strictly related to the topic itself. I use both Macs and Windows computers, and I am happy with both. Thanks!


If you are running Windows in a virtual machine on a Mac using Virtualbox, you might have been disappointed by the slow performances of USB devices. In particular, cameras might not download images or in the best case are rather slow and unreliable. You might also have tried to enable the USB 3.0 mode, just to find that the USB controller was not recognized anymore…

Here I describe how to fix the USB 3.0 issue and to get decent transfer speeds. I assume you are in the following situation:


1. You have a Mac computer
2. You installed Virtualbox 5.0.14
3. You installed Windows inside Virtualbox


Now, if you already did not do it, with the virtual machine turned off, open Virtualbox and enable USB 3.0 (Settings-Ports-USB-USB 3.0)


Next, start your virtual machine: you should see that the USB controller is not recognized, and that it appears in Device Manager with a yellow warning sign. That’s great!


Open a web browser inside the virtual machine, go to this address http://www.dell.com/...?driverId=GVT5M and download the executable file (it is a USB 3.0 driver from Dell)


Follow the instructions to install the driver: your virtual machine now has the right driver for a USB 3.0 controller, but not the right controller (so the USB 3.0 is not yet working at this point). Luckily, we are in a virtual environment so we only need to “persuade” the virtual machine that it actually has that controller!


Shut off the virtual machine and quit Virtualbox. Open a terminal window on the mac (Utilities-Terminal)


Type the following command:

VBoxManage setextradata <vmname> VBoxInternal/Devices/usb-xhci/0/Config/ChipType uPD720201


substituting <vmname> with the name you gave to the Windows virtual machine when you installed it (Can be found in Virtualbox, written in bold fonts in the virtual machine list, for example “Windows 7”. Use quotation marks if the name contains spaces)


If everything is ok, you should not get any error message from the command you typed in the terminal window. Otherwise, double check the virtual machine name (a list of the installed virtual machines can be obtained also by typing VBoxManage list vms)


Finally, restart your virtual machine and enjoy the new USB 3.0 speed!


I managed to use a QHY5L-IIm with EZplanetary installed in a virtual Windows7 machine running on a Macbook pro retina: the transfer rates are almost as good as when I use it in native Windows7 system!



Edited by N_DD, 19 February 2016 - 06:34 AM.

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