Registry Disable USB
The scenario: You want to prevent users saving files to a USB drive, probably for security, and to prevent data theft. After this registry tweak users can still read from the USB drive.
Topics for Disable USB in Registry
Before you use the registry to disable USB settings, launch explorer and make sure you can save files; check that 'New' on the shortcut menu has not been already disabled by a Group Policy.
Our mission is to find a specific Control setting in the registry, create a new Key and then add a DWORD value called WriteProtect.
1) Launch Regedit
2) Navigate to this key:
3) Create a New Key called StorageDevicePolices. Ignore the existing key called plain 'Storage'.
4) Create a New: 'DWORD (32-Bit) Value'. Name this new value: WriteProtect
5) Edit the 'Value data'. What I do is double click WriteProtect, then click in the 'Value data:' set to 1. If it displays as 0x00000001 (1) this is a good sign it is going to disable saving to the USB drive.
6) To check the fruits of your labours, close the registry editor and restart the computer.
Screenshot showing how the registry can disable USB with WriteProtect = 1.
To Use the Registry to Enable USB Settings
It's easy to employ the registry to enable USB settings. Launch regedit and use 'Find' to get to StorageDevicePolices. There, seek the setting WriteProtect and set its Data = 0 (zero). This means reverse the protection.
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** HKLM is an abbreviation of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, and HKCU is shorthand for HKEY_CURRENT_USER. These acronyms are so well-known that you can even use them in .reg files, Windows 7will understand and obey the registry instruction.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
Note: There is an extra line after Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
The concept is simple; create a text file with notepad, then type, or copy and paste the above 4 lines. Crucially, save the file not as a .txt, but with a .reg extension.
Once you have the information about the key, the settings and the value in that file, there are at least three ways of importing the information into your registry.
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As far as I can see, Group Policy does not have a default setting to disable drives containing removable media, such as USB ports, CD-ROM drives. However you can apply ADM templates which extend Group Policy to use customised settings.
Here is an ADM for Windows Server 2003:
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Summary of How to Disable USB in the Registry
This is a job for Regedit. Firstly you research the correct hive of HKLM. Then create the key StorageDevicePolices. Next add a DWORD called WriteProtect. A value of 1 means disable USB in the registry.
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