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USB device passthrough to Hyper-V - How to get this done

This article covers how to perform Hyper-V USB Passthrough. A USB passthrough is referenced when a keyboard has female USB ports for other devices to be plugged into the keyboard. USB passthroughs requires more than one USB port to be used by the keyboard in order to pass the USB through to the PC, often requiring an additional connection to the host system for powered ports.

What does Hyper-V USB passthrough Mean?

Hyper-V USB passthrough functionality allows you to access the USB device from within a virtual machine. There is a way to enable USB passthrough on Hyper-V for a memory stick, but you’ll have to use Windows storage subsystem.

Known issues with Hyper-V USB device passthrough organized with native methods:

1. Platform restrictions: said methods rely upon Windows storage subsystem so using them to set up Hyper-V USB passthrough on Linux (or any other OS that’s not Windows) is out of question, sadly.

2. An extremely limited list of supported devices: for the native methods to work, your USB peripheral must be recognized as a “Mass Storage Device”. No exceptions.

3. No sharing: once your device is set in passthrough mode, you can access it only from the guest OS. That’s why using these methods to permanently connect a USB to Hyper-V is definitely not the best idea.

4. Poor choice for a cloud: with these methods, the USB device is always locked to a specific host PC while there's no way to anchor a cloud-based Hyper-V guest system or preestimate where it's going to run for your next session.

Advantages of using RDP for Hyper-V USB passthrough:

1. Works for literally any hypervisor you can name;

2. Instant access to USB devices, once RDP connection is up;

3. Group Policy feature for overall control;

4. All USB devices plugged into your host PC are accessible from a virtual machine.

To enable USB device in Hyper-V with the Enhanced Session Mode:

1. On a host computer, you go to the Hyper-V Manager, right-click the name of the host and choose Hyper-V Settings.

2. In the Setting window, you will see the Server and User sections. Select Enhanced Session Mode Policy in the Server section and allow the enhanced session mode by checking the corresponding box.

3. Now, choose "Enhanced Session Mode" in the User section and check the “Use enhanced session mode” box.

4. Click OK and the changes will be saved.

To allow Hyper-V access to attached USB devices:

1. Start the Hyper-V Manager and double-click the name of your virtual machine.

2. In the pop-up window, click “Show Options” to configure your VM’s future connections.

3. After that, go to the tab “Local resources” and click “More” in the section “Local devices and resources”.

4. Then, check the boxes “Other supported Plug and Play devices” and “Devices that I plug in later”. Hit OK.

5. If you want this configuration to be saved for all future connections, check the corresponding box in the “Display” tab. Click “Connect” to implement the changes.

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