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[LUG] VMs, NAS, USB and Satnavs


Hi All,

Some time ago you may remember I posted that the only reason Window 7 still exists on my system is because the TomTom Satnav app will not work in WINE. Apologies to purists but I've found no native way of getting it to work in Linux, so I'm going with the adage 'If it works, use it'. I also heard of problems getting USB to work with VirtualBox. IIRC I was not alone in my irritation at having to keep Windows 7 /just/ for the SatNav. Yesterday I took the plunge and setup a Windows 7 VM in VirtualBox. In short it was successful, but I thought I would share how as it was not without much gnashing of teeth. I'll assume you have installed VirtualBox and followed up by installing a Windows 7 VM as those bits are relatively straightforward; for reference I gave it 4Gb memory and 256Mb video RAM.

1. To get USB working /at all/ you have to follow a set procedure.
a) Install VirtualBox Guest Additions CD Image following the directions on this webpage: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/faq/id-1955955/install-virtualbox-guest-additions-windows.html - After this go to the Settings -> USB for the VM and you will be able to enable USB 2.0 (or 3.0 if your motherboard supports it, mine doesn't). IMPORTANT NOTE: The VirtualBox version MUST be IDENTICAL to the Guest Additions version or it won't work. b) Close down the VM and insert / turn on any USB devices you want it to recognise. Except the SatNav.. it won't work yet, not without the driver software. c) Start the VM and you should see the familiar notifications that Windows has found new hardware and is setting it up for use. d) Go back to Settings -> USB and click the Add icon (second down) under USB Filters. Add each device in turn. e) In the bottom right the fourth icon from the left is USB devices. Right click that and make sure all you want have ticks next to them.

Subsequent boots of the VM you can plug and unplug USB devices as normal. It's only to add them that they need to be plugged in before the VM starts.

2. Now the NAS - I had to enable this as my TomTom software is on the NAS box - oops. Anyway this is relatively simple, once you get past the naive assumption - which I had - that a Windows VM will recognise the NAS just because it can get Internet access, and because the host OS does. Wrong. Just set Windows up on network up the same as you did for the real install, network name etc.

Click on Devices - Shared Folders - Shared Folder Settings. Browse to the Mount Point - not the drive itself as I did - which in my case is /home/julian/HERA. Make sure to check Auto-mount and Make Permanent.

It should then be a Network Location within the Windows 7 VM, so if you have been a berk like me and all your Windows Installation media are on your NAS, now you can get at them. if not go ahead and try mapping it like a normal drive, but you shouldn't need to. Programs won't run from the NAS - not sure why but a bad idea anyway - so just copy and paste them to the VM's desktop and run from there.

3. Now, the biggie, the SatNav.
    a) Close down the VM and plug the SatNav in.
b) Restart the VM and it will try to detect the SatNav, and possibly fail. Mine did but this turned out not to be an issue - it probably needed the driver installed first. c) TomTom provide two programs, TomTom HOME 2 and MyDrive. The former didn't detect the SatNav even when it was plugged in and had been told to connect to the computer. However, when I installed MyDrive, for the first time it did. Log into your account as normal and you should then be told what updates are available for your SatNav. Update as per normal.

Subsequently MyDrive has been a little pernickety at detecting the SatNav, but to be honest in my experience this is normal for a standard Windows installation as well so it doesn't bother me. Plug it in and unplug it once or twice and MyDrive will load - assuming you told it in the settings to run when the SatNav was plugged in of course. Detection does take a bit longer than normal so be patient with the plug/unplug frequency.

I hope this helps, and if your SaNav is a different make hopefully this will have given you some pointers on getting it to work.

Kind regards,


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