Page from 2011
Updated Jan 2014

Connecting USB drives to a (XP-Mode) VM

This procedure was originally written for attaching a USB DVD drive to a Windows 7 XP-Mode VM
I use this and other techniqies to perform tasks that do not require security such as running a 32 bit program such as DVD43 to copy DVDs

Image below shows DVD43 running on a 64 bit Windows 7 computer
DVD43 running on a 64 bit Windows 7 computer
See the task bar at the bottom is a Windows 7 one - XP is running DVD43 in a VM (XP-Mode)

When you use Windows 7's XP-Mode the key is to use external USB optical drive connected to the VM. The drive must be "Attached" to the Virtual Machine, NOT "shared" or DVD43 will not recognize it and decrypt the DVD.

Instructions given below are just on how to do this on Windows 7 XP-Mode, the preferred method is to use Sun Virtual Box, as this will run on any 64 bit computer regardless of whether it has a processor that supports virtualization and the VM will recognise the internal DVD drive.

Most VM software provides methods to connect USB devices to the machine so that data can be transfered to the machine for testing purposes. It was not intended that the Virtual Environment be used as a fully fledged computer running as an alternative to the host computer.

Depending on how you configure yoor VM the DVD files can be copied to the Virtual Hard Drive, a drive on the host computer or directly back to a secondary USB HDD. The optical drive HAS to be connected as an external device via USB. As I do not install optical drives in my HTPCs the external solution was the first thing that I tried.

Attaching an optical drive in XP-Mode
Above is DVD43 running on a Windows 7 64 bit computer using XP-Mode
you can do the same with Sun VirtualBox on BOTH Windows Vista 64 bit AND Windows 7 64 bit

Attaching the optical drive under Windows 7 XP-Mode

Start XP-Mode - plug in the external optical drive and make sure that it is recognized by the host computer. You will not be able to "attach" the drive to the Virtual Machine unless it can be seen on the USB port. Some drives that are powered through the USB port sometimes have difficulty in receiving enough d.c. power and will not operate unless an additional 5V connection is made.

Attach the optical drive to the Windows 7 XP-Mode Virtual Machine. You do this using the USB menu at the top of the XP-Mode Window. When you select the correct drive you will see a message that "attaching" the drive will disconnect it from the host computer that it is currently "shared" with. When the USB optical drive is successfully attached DVD43 will recognise it and scan it and then tell you that it is ready. The DVD43 yellow smiley face will turn through the devil to green. You can now copy or use the use the software of your chioce to make a backup of the DVD.

DVD43 running on a 64 bit Windows 7 computer

Supplementary notes on getting DVD43 to recognize and decrypt DVDs

If you try and copy files from a DVD to a drive on the XP Virtual Machine without attaching it to the VM you will get a similar error to that you get in a 32 bit XP operating system. The dialog is shown below.

DVD43 failing to read from attached drive

The confusing thing is that the DVD drive on the host can be seen on the XP Guest (see below)

An attached drive in a VM

The drive (in my case): "D SEVEN-PC" appears as a shared network drive.

You can select and attempt to copy files from it but as the drive cannot accept ATAPI commands over the "network" connection it will not be recognized by DVD43.

The smiley face on task bar for DVD43 will remain yellow.

If you check the Status of DVD43 you will see that it detects 2 DVD drives when the external DVD drive is "attached" and only 1 is detected (the other is "idle").

DVD43 reading from attached drive in a Virtual Machine

Compare this with the status you will see if you check when the drive is not attached.


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