Booting a physical machine using USB is much easier, but VirtualBox does not provides direct way to select boot from USB. So if you have a bootable USB drive then this article will help you to how to create VirtualBox vm using bootable USB.

For this example, I have already created a bootable USB of Ubuntu. You can visit following links for prerequisites.

  • Create bootable USB
  • Install VirtualBox on Ubuntu, Debian & LinuxMint
  • Install VirtualBox on CentOS, RHEL & Fedora

Step 1 – Attach & Find Bootable USB

Now attach your bootable USB drive to your system and find the name of USB attached. In my case the USB drive name is /dev/sdc.

/dev/sdc1       7.5G  1.1G  6.5G  14% /media/sysadmin/new

Unmount mounted USB drive using following command

# umount /dev/sdc1

Step 2 – Create VMDK from USB

Now use VBoxManage (VirtualBox command line) command to create raw vmdk file using USB (/dev/sdc) using following command at desired location.

# VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -rawdisk /dev/sdc -filename /opt/USB-Boot-Disk.vmdk

Read more about VBoxManage command line utility.

Step 3 – Create VM in VirtualBox

Now start the VirtualBox on your system and click New to start Create Virtual Machine wizard. Enter name of your machine ans select proper operating system type and version.

Boot from USB Drive in VirtualBox

Now select the amount of memory (in MB) to allocated to new virtual machine and click Next.

Boot from USB Drive in VirtualBox

In this step select Use an existing virtual hard disk file option and select vmdk file created in last step. This will attach this virtual disk with new virtual machine. Now click Create button.


At this stage your virtual machine has been created successfully. Now select the newly created virtual machine and click Start button. This will boot your virtual machine


If everything goes smooth, you will see boot options at this stage like below screen shot. You can select to Install Ubuntu or any other option as per your choice. By default it will boot as live media


Default live boot will take place and you will see screen like below. From where you can also install operating system permanently. Or you can select Install Ubuntu on above screen to start installation.

Ubuntu 1404 from USB

To install it permanently click on Install Ubuntu and complete the installation wizard to finish Ubuntu install on your system.