Santa Claus offered me a garmin device (Garmin Edge Touring) for Xmas, which is a good idea for my next mountain bike tours but is also a pain in the ass for linux users. Actually, Garmin has lately switched from a browser plugin (garmin connector) which was available for linux users (at this page or through the ubuntu package garmin-plugin) to an application called garmin express that has no linux version.

Even though that’s the last solution I wanted to use, I chose to use my Windows VM (Windows 7, 64bits, installed with VirtualBox; 64bits Windows installation can be a bit tricky with VirtualBox but is explained in this post). For that, I needed to use USB support in VirtualBox and add a few difficulties with it, hence the present post which explains how to activate USB 2 support in VirtualBox (and is widely inspired from the official documentation – in French). The tutorial has been tested with the following configuration:

  • host machine: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS;
  • VirtualBox version: 4.3.10 (official version in Ubuntu trusty repository;
  • client machine: Windows 7, 64 bits with guest additions installed.


The first step to configure USB support is to allow the current user (the one using VirtualBox on the host machine) to access USB VB ports. This is done using the command:

sudo usermod -G vboxusers -a $USER

to allow all users or

sudo usermod -G vboxusers -a tuxette

to allow only the user tuxette. This step is also required even though you only want to use USB 1 support but is only valid after you logout and login again of your Ubuntu current session.

The second step consists in downloading the Oracle support for USB. This support depends on your version of VirtualBox. If you are using the official version from the trusty repository, the file to download is at this link. Otherwise, you may want to have a look at this directory and find your VB version (VB version can be found in the VirtualBox menu “Help/About VirtualBox…”). Once this file is downloaded, use the menu “File/Preferences” and go to the tab “Extensions” in which you can “Add extension pack” and install the extension pack that you have just downloaded.

Finally, in VirtualBox interface, before starting your virtual machine, click on “USB” on the right panel. Click on the button with a “+” sign that says “Adds a new USB filter…” and select the USB device that you want to use in your virtual machine. Then, start the virtual machine (and from that on, the USB device is no more available in the host machine). I managed to use my Garmin device with Garmin Express for windows, which I hope will be available for linux as well… 😉