paulgarth
Contributor
Contributor

Attaching external USB Drive to (free) VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7

I'm sure this topic has been hashed out before, but I'm stumped.

My environment is the Free VMware vSphere 6.7 ESXi; a VM with Windows Server 2016; an attached external USB Passport 500GB drive to the ESXi Host.

My goal is to see the USB drive within Windows Server 2016, so I can copy over files.

The latest rabbit trail, where I understood that I needed to add the external drive via configuring the PCI card with USB:

Baremetal server is Dell R630

PCI Card with USB is: C610/X99 Series Chipset USB Enhanced Host Controller 1 & 2 (I figured out how to enable passthrough and restarted host)

Issue is that after I select the USB within PCI Card, I get "Failed to reconfigure virtual machine <servername>. PCI passthrough devices cannot be added when Nested Hardware-Assisted Virtualization is enabled."

I cannot uncheck the option within Edit Settings of the VM for Hardware virtualization. 

Question:  I think I can uncheck the Hardware virtualization during VM creation.  Is this OK to do, considering I may need to in order to access an external USB drive?

Appreciate any help and guidance.

Paul

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4 Replies
anvanster
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi,

Yes, you can uncheck this check-box if you're not planning to install HyperV on your Server16. It does not impact other functionality.

Check out this video, steps for 6.7 are the same.

paulgarth
Contributor
Contributor

Thank you for your response, and clarification regarding nested hardware-assisted virtualization. 

I'll update again when I've recreated the VM.

To add to (my) troubleshooting:

-Within Edit Settings, CPU, Hardware Virtualization, I cannot uncheck "Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS" - even with the VM powered down

-Within Edit Settings, USB Controller 1 is set to USB 2.0, but within "Add other device", "USB Device" is grayed out

-The video mentions selecting "USB Device" - maybe that will be available after recreating the VM without the box (above) checked

-I'll first go down the video's suggestion of selecting within USB Device vs PCI Device settings.

Thanks.

Still in learning mode.

Paul

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paulgarth
Contributor
Contributor

These are my troubleshooting notes, after creating a new Virtual Machine:

VMware ESXi 6.7

Baremetal Server - Dell R630

External USB Drive attached to Server

VM: Windows Server 2016

-Created a new VM, and did not check next to “Enable Windows VBS”

-Within Edit settings, I have USB Controller 1 USB 3.0. Issue is that within “Add other device” it still has “USB Device” grayed out. The video shows that this is clickable, but not for me. I had selected USB 3.0 based on the video

-Within “Add new device”, I clicked on PCI Device and Chose Controller #1. This time I got a “Successfully reconfigured”, and went back to add Controller #2. I also clicked on the “Reserve all memory” – no difference.

-Restarted server – no difference. Not seeing the attached drive.

-Within Windows Server 2016, Control Panel, I am seeing (under unspecified) USB Root Hub (xHCI). Not sure if that means it’s just seeing the PCI selection I made, or if it’s actually sensing hardware.

-Appears all the drivers within Device Manager (for USB) are up-to-date, but maybe there’s a driver missing?

-Went back into VMware Edit settings and changed from USB 3.0 to 2.0. “USB Device” is still grayed out.

-What’s interesting, back in Windows Control panel, is that the USB Root hub is no longer within unspecified, but I’m not seeing it anywhere else. Also, not seeing the attached drive.

-I had the local tech switch the port that the external USB drive is connected to – no difference.

Appreciate any thoughts, including redirecting my troubleshooting path.

Paul

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paulgarth
Contributor
Contributor

I came across this document.

To enable the xHCI module, I need to SSH in and do:

esxcfg-module -e xhci

echo "vmkload_mod xhci" >> /etc/rc.local.d/local.sh

Question:  Does this make sense regarding my troubleshooting to date?

My hardware configuration for PCI device 0 is: C610/X99 series chipset USB Enhanced Host Controller #1

I'm getting close to accomplishing passthrough that I can taste it...

Paul

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