How often have you witnessed blocked Pen drive or USB drive access in your workplace, college, or school? I believe many times; in fact, you are not allowed every time you try to use the USB drive, simply because the administrator has disabled USB drive detection on your Windows 11/10/8/7 system. Again, how often has your data been stolen because someone connected an unauthorized USB to your computer and copied your files? Well, you don’t need to worry because the solution to disable or enable USB Ports is pretty simple.
Restrict access to USB drives in Windows 11/10
There are several ways an administrator can prevent using USB Drives:
- Altering the Registry values for USB Mass Storage Devices.
- Disabling USB Ports from Device Manager.
- By Uninstalling the USB Mass Storage Drivers
- Using Command-line
- Using third-party freeware
- Using Microsoft Fix It.
Lets us look at how we can fix these problems and enable USB on a Windows PC.
1] Enable, Disable USB Drives & Mass Storage Devices using Registry
If the administrator is wise, then he would do this to ensure a tight blockade. He would alter the settings through the regedit command on the Run console. Now how do you unlock it? You have to go right into where the administrator has been. Here is how.
- Go to Start > Run, type “regedit,” and press enter to open the registry editor.
- Navigate to the following key
In the right pane, select Start and change the value to 3. (The value 4 will disable USB Storage). Click OK. It will re-enable USB Ports and allow you to use USB or Pen drives.
2] Disable USB Ports from Device Manager
If you still don’t find your USB drive working, you may have to look into the Device Manager. The administrator could have possibly disabled the USB port here. Check out for any possibility in the Device Manager and enable the disabled port by right-clicking on the selected one and clicking Enable or Disable, as per your requirement.
Read: How to check Power Output of a USB Port on Windows 11/10.
3] Uninstall USB Mass Storage Drivers
If the authorities are apprehensive about security in the school, they will take the extreme step of uninstalling the USB Mass Storage Drivers. To make things work, install the device drivers. Here is how you do it.
When you plug in your USB drive, Windows will check for drivers; if not found, Windows will prompt you to install the driver. This would definitely unlock the Pen drive at your school or office.
4] Using Command line
To enable or disable CD/DVD ROM Drives, open an elevated command prompt window, type the following, and hit Enter.
reg add HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\cdrom /t REG_DWORD /v "Start" /d 4 /f
You will get The operation completed successfully message. It will disable the DVD CD Drive.
To enable it, use:
reg add HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\cdrom /t REG_DWORD /v "Start" /d 1 /f
Restart your Windows PC.
5] Use USB Drive Disabler/Enabler
You can download and use a free tool, USB Drive Disabler/Enabler, which will allow you to enable or disable USB drives on your Windows computer easily. www.intelliadmin.com to download it.
6] Prevent users from connecting USB
If a USB storage device is already installed on your Windows computer, you can edit the Windows Registry to ensure that the USB does not work when anyone connects it to the PC, using this Microsoft Fixit 50061 [This has been taken down by Microsoft now]. Check first if it applies to your version of the Windows operating system.
How to allow only specific USB devices in Windows?
It is possible through the group policy available at Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Device Installation> Device Installation Restrictions > Allow Installation of devices that match any of these Device IDs. Here it would help if you had to enter the device ID of the USB, which can be noted from the Device Manager > Properties > Details tab > Device Instance Path.
How to Disable USB Ports?
You can either do it from the UEFI or BIOS of your motherboard and the second way is to disable the USB driver using Group Policy or Software. Always make sure you remember how to roll back if you need it for urgent use. Also, note that Group Policy or Software works when you are inside the OS, but the motherboard method works right from the boot.
Please let us know if you have any questions or observations.