If you’re a person who’s too careful about the security of your laptop or computer, then you should also allow only specific USB storage devices in Windows. It ensures no one else connects anything to copy or transfer files. This guide will share how you can allow only specific USB devices in your Windows PC or Laptop.
Why You Should Only Allow Specific Storage Devices?
USB devices are known to be a source of malware and connected to multiple computers, it can lead to yours. Once you have complete control over which USB is allowed and which one remains blocked, it will also ensure that no data transfer happens without your permission.
It does not matter whether you use Windows 11 or Windows 10 Operating System avoiding threats, malware, and viruses are the best thing you can do to protect your devices.
If you’re an IT admin of a firm/organization/institution, then you will be more eager to do so, especially to abide by your company’s laws and policies. It also helps you maintain the confidentiality of your data. So, let’s learn how!
Allow Only Specific USB Devices in Windows
The easiest and standard step involves following two methods consisting of further instructions. Follow them well!
1. Identify the USB storage device that needs to be given access
- Take your USB storage that needs to be granted access. Connect it to the USB port on your Windows 11/10 PC.
- Select Run and then input the name as devmgmt.msc. Click on the OK button or press the Enter key to open the Device Manager.
- In the Device Manager, navigate to Disk Drives. Locate and right-click on the storage you want to disable. A drop-down menu appears from the list Select Properties.
- In properties, go to Details, a drop-down menu appears again, select Device Instance Path from it.
- Copy the Path value from it.
2. Configure the Group Policy for USB Device Access
- Open Run prompt using Win + R
- Type gpedit.msc and press the Enter key to open Group Policy Editor
- Navigate to the following path: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Device Installation > Device Installation Restrictions
- Locate and open Allow installation of devices that match any of these Device IDs policy
- Now click on Enabled in it and click on the Show button
- Paste the path we copied in the above step, in the value box. Press the Ok button and then click Apply.
Check if the device is accessible, and cross-check if any other device is visible.
How to Disable Access Given to Any Enabled Storage Device?
Be It Windows 11 or Windows 10, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to restrict access to removable storage devices. Follow the steps given below to implement it:
- Open the Start Menu Search using Win + S
- Type gpedit.msc and Click and open Local Policy Editor.
- Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Removable Storage Access.
- Locate the policy that says All Removable Storage classes: Deny all access policy. Double-click to open it.
- You will see a list of options. Click on the Enabled option in it.
- Click on the Apply button and then press Ok to save the changes.
- Restart the PC
If you have successfully implemented all the steps, you will notice that Windows will deny access to all the removable storage devices. It will include external SSDs, external hard drives, external USB storage devices, and many other removable devices.
However, if you want to enable access, then you are free to do so on your own without any external support.
How to Control the Access of External USB Storage Devices that are Previously Installed?
You can track all the previous and the new connection using the USBDeview application from NirSoft. It is a small utility that lists all USB devices that are currently connected to your computer, as well as all USB devices that you previously used. It uses the WIndows log to display all the devices including the date/time that device was added, VendorID, ProductID, and more.
The latest Windows Operating System, Windows 11, has more advanced security features for enhanced features. You need not necessarily restrict USB Storage Devices; however, if you feel to be on a safer side, then follow the steps no matter if you’re using a Windows 11 Operating System or Windows 10.
If you are on an older version, you need to allow only specific USB storage devices. As the security in the previous versions is not much advanced as compared to Windows 11 OS.
How Do I Disable Write Access To Removable Storage Devices?
Here is a method of disabling all removable storage access using Registry as follows:-
- Open Start and type Regedit to open Registry.
- Once open follow the given path:
- Navigate to the Windows folder and right-click on to select the New submenu, and select the Key option.
- Now, you have to name the RemovableStorageDevice and tap Enter. Choose the New submenu, and choose the DWORD Value option.
- Deny_All and press Enter.
- Quickly double-click the recently created DWORD and set the value to 0 to 1. Once done tap on Ok and reboot your computer.
How Do I Restrict Access to the NTFS Partition From a User?
So, to restrict the NTFS Partition follow the given steps:-
- Press the Win+E button to launch Windows Explorer.
- Right-click on the drive on which you want to restrict the access and choose Properties from the displayed options.
- In the properties window, navigate to Security Tab and tap on the Edit button.
- When you tap on the Edit button you get the Permissions window. Check here if the username is listed which you want to restrict.
- If you don’t find the Groups or Usernames then tap on Add button to add the user to the list.
- Now, enter the username which you want to restrict and tap on the Check names button. Tap on Ok to continue.
- Once you have completely restricted the user from accessing any partition click Apply and Ok button.