It seems that VMware's Player has a slight bug, which can prevent virtual machines from accessing USB devices. This happens if the user is running Player while logged into the host operating system of their machine with reduced privileges.
I ran into this issue while trying out release 2.0.3 of the open-source OpenOffice.org suite at home. To avoid conflicts with Microsoft Office, I installed it in a virtual Windows XP system.
However, I found I was unable to copy some
sample Word documents onto the virtual machine from a USB Flash drive. Both the
host operating system and the virtual machine tried to access the disk. The VM
reported "USB device not recognised", after which it became unstable
and locked up, forcing me to close VMware player from Windows Task Manager.
For security reasons, I usually run Windows in User mode, but I found the problem does not happen if I log in as Administrator.
VMware does not offer technical support for Player (which is a free product), but a brief search on the company’s user forum showed that the problem is a known issue. According to a posting from one of VMware's engineers, a workaround is to add users to the "__vmware__" user group created by Player. It is unclear at the moment whether this setting may have any security implications.
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