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

VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7 (Free)
Virtual Machine configured with Windows Server 2016
External USB Drive (Passport 500GB)

Attach the external USB Drive, so I can copy over files to the Virtual Machine
Note: I’m not sure why this appears complicated to accomplish.

Lessons Learned
-Not sure why this is so difficult, but I’m not seeing this feature as a strength within VMware. I’ve decided to hold off on this method of attaching data.
-Because I’ll be using the replication method (inherit identities) to add a new IBM Domino Server, I’m just going to use LogMeIn to copy over needed files from current server to new server.
-If I figure this out later, I’ll update this document

Observations within ESXi Host:
-Inside ESXi Host
-Right click on Virtual Machine and select Edit Settings
USB Controller 1 is greyed out with USB 2.0
Click on “Add other Device” shows “USB Device” greyed out
Note: I can select USB Controller, but gives warning that you cannot have more than one USB device – I knew that

Observations within VM of Windows Server 2016:
-Not seeing any attached USB drive

Troubleshooting steps
-Issue is that, even after removing the USB Controller and adding a USB Controller with USB 3.0, I cannot then go back and add the device and select the USB drive.
-Note: I found that you don’t think about the USB Device within the USB Controller, but actually create a passthrough thru the Host Controller.
-XREF to this video:
-XREF this with same PCI as me –

-In my case, I have a Dell R610 bare-metal server, that the ESXi is installed on
-Within VMware ESXi; Host, Manage, Hardware, PCI Devices and Search for USB
-It comes back with Intel Corporation C610/X99 series chipset USB Enhanced Host Controller #1
and the same ending in #2
-Right now, both are Disabled in the Passthrough column, so I checked both and clicked on Toggle Passthrough
-Comes back with successful enabled, and need to reboot the host to complete configuration.
Note: The YouTube video mentioned to not disable what I just enabled, as it may cause issues
-Now I have to shutdown and power down all my VM’s and restart the Host.
-Placed host in maintenance mode — this is a best practice
-Reboot host

-Host, Actions, Exit maintenance mode
-Power up a VM
-Edit settings
-Noticed I had USB Controller 1 set to USB 3.0 (from prior troubleshooting)
-Deleted this and added USB Controller 1 set to USB 2.0; saved
-Edit Settings
-Add other device
-New PCI device (scrolled to bottom)
-Choice of the two controllers I had added to passthrough
-Chose Controller #1
Note: Error: “Failed to reconfigure virtual machine. PCI passthrough devices cannot be added when Nested Hardware-Assisted Virtualization is enabled”

Note: Went back in again and expanded New PCI Device. This time, chose #1, and also clicked on “Reserve all memory”; same error re: Nested Hardware-Assisted Virtualization
Note: This is odd, because VMware says it doesn’t support Nested Hardware-assisted virtualization in production environments, so not sure why it’s enabled. Something about VMware wanting us to have access to everything in the beginning –

-Note: Found this on how to enabled/disable the Nested feature –
-I see within CPU, Hardware virtualization, “Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS. I cannot uncheck it. I also checked against VM’s that are not powered up yet.

Rebuilding Test server without hardware virtualization:
-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.

About Paul

CERT Coordinator, Ham Radio Operator, GTD Fan; Photographer; Domino/Notes Administrator
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