To limit users from plugging in and using USB storage devices in your body, you are able to fully disable USB ports in Windows 10. Here’s how.
In almost any system, you are able to attach USB storage devices like thumb drives, pen drives, external hard disk drives, etc. Once attached, read, write, and customize the data in those devices. Generally, having a usable USB port is extremely useful. After all, most of us use some kind of external hard drive to transfer or store data.
Just like it is, you will see situations in which you need to block all USB ports in Windows. Due to the fact you don’t want users attaching USB drives and transferring or reading data without authorization. This is particularly important for work environments. Of these kinds of cases, Windows has some options to fully disable USB ports. Let me demonstrate how.
Note: Once you disable USB ports in Windows, you won’t able to use them only as long as Windows is running. This is because you aren’t disabling the hardware itself but putting simple yet affective software restrictions. So, do keep that in mind.
1] Disable USB Ports in Windows via GPO
To create things easier, Windows includes a dedicated Group Policy Object that disables the USB ports. Well, certainly not disabled outright but blocks the read and write access. Once those two situations are blocked, the USB storage devices are essentially disabled.
Note: The steps shown are just applicable to Windows Pro and Enterprise versions. If you work with Windows Home edition, follow the second method.
1. First, open the Group Policy Editor by searching for “Edit group policy” within the start menu. Once opened, expand the folder structure on the left panel and visit the following location.
Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → System → Removable Storage Access
2. Once you are here, around the right panel, find and double-click on the “Removable disks: deny execute access”.
3. In the properties window, select the “Enabled” radio option and then click the “Ok” button to save changes.
4. Perform the same task for the other two policies “Removable disks: deny read access” and “Removable disks: deny write access”.
5. After modifying the 3 policies, reboot Windows to apply the insurance policy changes.
When you reboot the system, all of the USB ports is going to be disabled. If you want to reverse the process, select “Not configured” or “Disabled” in the policy properties window for those three policies.
2] Use Registry Editor
Windows Home users can use the Registry Editor to disable USB ports. Before proceeding, support the registry in order to be secure in case anything goes wrong.
1. Open the beginning menu, look for “Registry Editor” and then click the result. This course of action will open the Registry Editor.
2. After opening the Registry Editor, copy the below path, paste it within the address bar and press Enter. Doing that will get you to the “USBSTOR” folder.
3. Once you are here, around the right panel, find a value named “start” and double-click onto it.
4. The above action will open the worth properties window. In the value data field, type “4” and then click the “Ok” button in order to save changes.
5. Once you have done everything, close the Registry Editor and reboot Windows to use changes.
That is it. After restarting, the USB ports will be disabled. If you want to revert back, follow the same steps but type “3” within the Value data field in fourth step.