While USB ports are handy to connect almost anything to the PC, they also pose a threat. At times you may want to disable the USB drives or ports to ensure nobody can copy anything out of the system. In this guide, we will show how to enable or disable USB drives or ports in Windows 11/10
USB ports have been widely used since modern computers came into existence. These ports are used primarily to provide or receive inputs from the computer. Various devices like USB storage devices (Pendrives, External HDDs, SSDs), Mouse, Keyboard, and many others can be connected to your computer. While USB ports are handy, anyone can also use them to steal crucial information from your computer and even install malicious software or put harmful files on your computer.
Disabling Or Enabling USB Ports In Windows
To Disable or enable USB ports on your Windows computer, you should access the administrator account. Here are the methods you can use to disable USB ports in Windows:
- Using Registry Editor
- Using Group Policy Editor
- Using Device Manager
You will need admin permission to execute these steps.
1] Disabling or Enabling USB Ports in Windows Using Registry Editor
Using the Registry Editor for disabling USB ports in Windows is one of the most effective methods. However, one should take due care while doing, say, and tweaking with the wrong registry can create more significant issues for your device, so follow these steps closely:
- First, create a System Restore or Backup Registry that will come in handy in an emergency.
- Search for the Registry Editor in the Start menu and click on it to open it.
- You’ll receive a prompt asking, Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your devices? Click yes.
- Now that you are in the registry editor, navigate to the following path:
- When you reach the USBSTOR folder, look for the Start key and double-click on it to edit its values.
- Now in the Valuedata field, you’ll see the value as 3. The value indicates that the USB storage devices are enabled. You can change the value to 4 or 3 whenever you wish to enable or disable USB ports and storage devices using the registry editor.
2] Disabling or Enabling USB Ports in Windows Using Group Policy Editor
Putting it into non-specialists’ terms, the local group policy editor is an advanced version of the Windows settings. It provides you with greater control over almost everything on your computer, including user accounts. Group policy editor can also be used to disable or enable USB ports and devices on your computer. Here are the steps to do it:
- Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows+R on your keyboard, type Gpedit.msc and press the Enter key.
- Now in the Run dialog box, go to Computer configurations > Administrative templates > System > Removable Storage Acess
- Now, double click the Removable Storage Acess folder and open the Removable Disks: Deny Execute Acess policy.
- Once you are into the policy settings, select from the enable or disable radio buttons from the left side as your desire to enable or disable USB drives and ports in Windows using the group policy editor.
3] Using Device Manager
Device manager has been a utility present in Windows for a long time and allows you to manage all the devices connected/installed on your computer. Here’s how to disable and enable USB ports using Device Manager:
- Right-click the Start icon and select Device manager from the power user menu.
- Please scroll down to find Universal serial bus controllers in the device manager and click on it to expand the list.
- Now, look for your USB port and right-click on it.
- In the right-click menu, select disable device to disable your USB port.
To re-enable the USB ports, follow the same steps; select the enable device option from the right-click menu on the last step.
How to Update USB Drivers?
To update USB Drivers or any drivers in Windows, you need to head over to the Windows setting and then go to Windows Update in the left pane. In Windows update, click on Advanced options and select optional updates.
Will Disabling USB Drivers Cause Damage to My Computer?
Disabling USB ports won’t cause any damage to your computer. However, if any essential devices are connected to your computer through the USB ports, you might face trouble, and the devices will at least stop working temporarily.