gworboys
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Enthusiast

ASUS mobo and USB3 HDD

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Three systems, all Windows 10 64bit host, Windows 10 64bit guest. (build 1803 and 1809 same symptoms).  Problems found with VMware Workstation v15.1.0, and with v14.1.2 (and some earlier not tracked).

Two systems use ASUS motherboards - one is a desktop Z270 chipset (also an Asmedia USB chipset for 2 v3.1 ports that see same problem as the Intel ports), the other is an ASUS laptop (new Zenbook with Intel chipset for USB 3.1).  No BIOS setting for USB mode, seems hard set at xHCI, defaults to Enabled for xHCI hand-off.  I have installed the latest BIOS and chipset drivers for these two systems.

One system Gigabyte motherboard Z87 chipset.

All use Intel chipets and drives, and default Windows 10 xHCI USB 3.0 driver.

Thumb-drives/flash-drives - USB2 or USB3 - all seem to work on all these hosts and guests, no problems.

USB HDDs (eg: Seagate Expansion, or Silverstone SATA-to-USB) will mount on Gigabyte Windows 10 guest, but will not mount on either of the ASUS based systems.  In the ASUS systems I can see the storage controller "USB attached SCSI (UAS) Mass Storage Device", but the drive never appears and the Universal Serial Bus controller "USB Root Hub (USB 3.0)" shows with a yellow explanation saying it had been unable to reset.

Also, on the ASUS desktop host system the USB HDD will mount and work for a while but eventually leads to vmware.exe going into 100% of on one CPU (on Wkstn v14 it just froze without driving the CPU).  Killing vmware.exe and restarting gives you temporary access (time to shut things down), but soon locks up again until you reboot the entire host system.

Has anyone else seen this?  This thread seems similar to the second part of the problem: https://communities.vmware.com/thread/576212  but BIOS vs UEFI does not seem to make any difference to what I see.

At the moment I'm assuming it's something peculiar to ASUS motherboards, but it may be coincidence - I have only these three systems to test with; it's enough to prove the drives and cable are all okay but not enough to decide why two out of three won't work properly.

Are there some clever USB settings I could try in the .vmx file that might make these ASUS systems work?  It is very frustrating not being able use my backup drives on these systems.

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gworboys
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I found that I am not alone, and someone else had even discovered the work-around, see this link for more details:

hard drive - Error USB3 UAS passthrough VMWare Workstation 15 - Super User

In summary: this is an old problem with UAS that was described, with a work-around, in the v12.0 release notes:

VMware Workstation 12 Pro Release Notes

In theory, the described problem was fixed in v12.1, see those release notes:

VMware Workstation 12 Pro Version 12.1 Release Notes

But in practise it appears that some hardware combinations still need it.  The work-around, as described in the v12 release notes, is to add this line:

    usb.generic.keepStreamsEnabled = "FALSE"

to your .vmx file.  "This procedure makes the device function as a USB 3.0 mass storage device and not as a UAS device, which might result in a slight degradation in performance while reading and writing to the device."

I haven't done much testing yet, but performance doesn't seem too mad (I'm getting roughly USB3 speeds, not USB2).

Do VMware monitor these threads or do I need to report this bug via some other mechanism?

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2 Replies
gworboys
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I found that I am not alone, and someone else had even discovered the work-around, see this link for more details:

hard drive - Error USB3 UAS passthrough VMWare Workstation 15 - Super User

In summary: this is an old problem with UAS that was described, with a work-around, in the v12.0 release notes:

VMware Workstation 12 Pro Release Notes

In theory, the described problem was fixed in v12.1, see those release notes:

VMware Workstation 12 Pro Version 12.1 Release Notes

But in practise it appears that some hardware combinations still need it.  The work-around, as described in the v12 release notes, is to add this line:

    usb.generic.keepStreamsEnabled = "FALSE"

to your .vmx file.  "This procedure makes the device function as a USB 3.0 mass storage device and not as a UAS device, which might result in a slight degradation in performance while reading and writing to the device."

I haven't done much testing yet, but performance doesn't seem too mad (I'm getting roughly USB3 speeds, not USB2).

Do VMware monitor these threads or do I need to report this bug via some other mechanism?

bonnie201110141
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

This is a known issue in VMware Workstation with UAS (USB Attached Storage) devices. We are currently working on this issue. Please use the workaround for now. Sorry for the inconvenience.