Saturday, 11 February 2012

USB support in Windows XP Mode

i wanted to try and get away from running virtual machines on my new laptop, but there is one piece of software i regularly use that hasn't had a 64-bit release yet. (Siemens SIMATIC Step 7, in case you're interested)
so i thought i'd try and use the Windows XP mode built into Windows 7....

you can download XP mode here. you will need a genuine copy of windows in order to get access to the downloads

once installed, i set about installing my software which went through fine. then came the part where i had to transfer the license from a USB stick to the VM. this didn't go so smoothly.

to begin with i couldn't even get the VM to attach the USB stick. it kept ditching with a message like "could not attach, try a different port or restart the VM and try again". i tried the port next to it, tried restarting, but it wouldn't work.

then i reliased that i was using a USB 3.0 port on the laptop (look for the letters SS at the left of the logo on the port)....a quick look on google confirmed my suspicions that microsoft virtual PC doesn't like USB 3.0. putting the stick in to one of the USB 2.0 ports on the other side of the laptop allowed me to at least attach it. it still didn't recognise it though.

i ran devmgmt.msc to open device manager and lo and behold there's 3 "Virtual PC Integeration Device" entries with exclamations and another one called something like "Virtualisation USB Stub". 
i had a quick scout around a couple of technet blogs and apparently the virtual PC integration entries are considered normal.

i right-clicked on the USB stub and tried "Update driver" and allowed windows update to have a go. to its credit it did find and install the driver. there was now another entry "Virtualisation USB Hub" or similar, so i did the same for that one. when it has installed the driver, the VM made a sound like i'd just plugged in a USB device and then the drive magically appeared in my computer and all was fine.

in summary: it seems like microsoft can't be bothered to implement USB 3.0 in windows virtual PC, and you need to manually force a driver update to get it to install the drivers for USB 2.0, then everything appears to work swimmingly!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Nice Post about USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 for Laptops & PCs

    Need more technical assistance see this link,

    Xp Support

  3. Unfortunately, my XP mode wasn't able to find those drivers. :-(

    But thanks for the heads-up that this was a USB 3.0 issue. Will keep tinkering.

  4. Thank you for the tip on how to identify a USB 3.0 port. I tried to do a driver update for USB Virtualization Bus Driver and Hub Driver but no drivers were found. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

  5. I just discovered a work-around through experimentation that if you just want to copy files from your USB stick to your XP virtual server, do the following:

    a) Plug in your USB Stick and browse it to find the file or folder you want to have copied to the Desktop (or anywhere else) on your XP virtual server.
    b) Right-Click on the file or folder and choose "Copy"
    c) On the Desktop of you XP virtual machine, Right-Click and choose "Paste"... Voila! = : )

    Please let me know if this work-around works for you.