How do I share an external hard drive with a virtual machine using Windows?

Joseph Videtto December 17, 2012
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I am trying to share an external hard drive from my host PC to a virtual machine using Windows 7 file sharing. I have set sharing on the external hard drive to “Everyone”, but during this process, I “cancelled” and was then told the drive may be in an inconsistent state.

The share setting as viewed from the host machine indicates “Shared”, yet when I connect to this external drive from the virtual machine, I keep getting the permission error: “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item”.

If my drive is in an inconsistent state from the “Cancel” I did during the initial share setup, can I force Windows to reapply the correct permissions? As I change permissions now, I do not see the small popup window cycling through all the names of the files as I did during the initial share setup.

Are there some other settings in Windows 7 I should check and tinker with?

  1. Joel Jacob
    January 5, 2013 at 9:51 am
  2. Parth Nagvadia
    December 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    just connect u r virtual machine to u r main os by nat or bridge connection, after that u have to just share any folder or hard drive of u r main os it will be reflected in u r virtual os.

  3. Vivek Kumar Yadav
    December 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    if u r using the virtual box then u just have to install virtual box USB expansion package then u can easy share your external hard drive.

  4. josemon maliakal
    December 17, 2012 at 10:48 am

    what about the ownership of the files

  5. Abba Jee
    December 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

    is you external drive password protected from host OS ?

    • Joseph Videtto
      December 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

      No - no passwords on the shares or hard drives, and Win 7 advanced security settings are set to NOT require passwords for shares

  6. ha14
    December 17, 2012 at 8:41 am

    perhaps to use windows restore points.

    take ownership of the hard drive

  7. Âdil Farôôq
    December 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Using external usb hard drives btw which VM software you are using?

    • Joseph Videtto
      December 17, 2012 at 10:38 am

      Oracle VM Virtual Box (I should have mentioned that)

    December 17, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Hello, can you tell us more about the operating system inside virtual machine? Do both, the host and operating system inside virtual machines belong to same workgroup? Do they belong to same homegroup(if windows 7)?

    You could try unsharing the external and then share it back to see if that fixes any possible issues. You could also create same user, with same credentials on the virtual machine.

    If you are sharing an external or any file/drive from windows 7 to vista/xp, you would need to make sure that password protection sharing is off. To check your settings and change them if need be, try the following:

    -- start
    -- control panel
    -- network and sharing center
    -- click on advanced sharing settings
    -- make sure that following settings are the following way:
    -- turn on network discovery
    -- turn on sharing so anyone with network access ....etc.
    -- use 128-bit encryption ( if operating systen inside virtual machine is XP, you could try the second option)
    -- turn off password protecting sharing

  9. Thomas Petrucha
    December 17, 2012 at 7:34 am

    ... as kishan said.
    ... but don´t forget to turn on the USB support for your VM ;)

  10. Nicholas Ragoobar
    December 17, 2012 at 1:57 am

    which virtual machine software are you using?

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