How to Disable / Restrict Use of USB Storage Devices in Windows?

Many times we want to restrict users from using USB drives in our systems. Suppose you have some important data and a friend comes and takes the data in his USB drive. This tutorial will help you in completely disable the use of USB drives in system.

After applying this tutorial, users will not be able to use USB drives. Windows will not detect it.

The tutorial is divided into 2 parts:

  • If the USB storage device is not installed in system
  • If the USB storage device is already installed in system

So lets start this tutorial:

If the USB storage device is not installed in system:

1. Type %windir%\inf in Explorer addressbar or RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open "inf" folder.

2. Now look for following 2 files:

  • usbstor.inf
  • usbstor.pnf

3. Now you have to change their user permissions setting. Do as following for each file:

Right-click on the file and select "Properties". Go to "Security" tab and select the desired user or group in "Group or user names" list which you want to restrict from using USB drives. Now in "Permissions for Users" list, click on "Deny" checkbox next to "Full control" option and then click on OK.


NOTE: In Windows Vista, you'll have to click on "Edit" button after selecting the user or group in "Group or user names" list and then again select the same user or group in new dialog box. Now you can click on "Deny" checkbox.

4. That's it. Now users will not be able to install any USB storage device in system.

If the USB storage device is already installed in system:

1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. Now go to:


2. In right-side pane, change value of "Start" to 4


3. Now whenever a user will attach a USB storage device which is already installed in system, Windows will not detect it and it'll not be shown in My Computer.

NOTE: If you want to revert it back to default, then change the value of "Start" to 3

BONUS TIP: If you want to restrict only writing to USB storage devices, then take a look at Point 21 in following tutorial:

All Kinds of Restrictions for Windows

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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  • Thanks for your help! This really worked for me!

  • Thank you. The best simple way to block USB storage. Cheers m8!

  • How do we undo this? It's a problem because my school blocks everything when I'm just trying to upload my homework. They also blocked the websites like dropbox and skydrvie that are my main tools. I can't use my USB and it's just MY computer.

  • when i plug my usb (card reader) it doesn't in my computer ...but as you above tutorial in my 'USBSTOR' everythings are right..but when i change in my device manager in 'unknown' driver's status "windows has stopped this device because it has reported problem. (code 43)"..what should i do please help me.

  • If i disable USB storage devices then how can i install usb printer, please give me the solutions

  • thanx for providing easy way to block usb drive

  • thanx but how would i come to know that how many person try to insert usb storage device in my pc in absence of me

  • Its not worked for me.

  • Md. Ashraful Islam this way is just to block using the storage devices you can still use your printer cause it works on a different port which is the usbprint

  • How does one restrict the type of USB permitted to a specific USB device? For example, an encrypted drive manufactured by McAfee?

  • VG i changed permission of usbstor.inf , now i want to restore to origional permission , but its editing properties are not listing . Also tried thro admin account but no luck as i firstly done it thro user account which is of admin group .
    Help me to get it to origional state . Or i need to format & reinstall ?
    Os is windows 8.1 pro x64 .

  • VG

    ^^ Try to take ownership of the file:

  • Thanks VG. Tried 2nd solution it worked.

  • Hi Dear people this steps is not working out my windows 7 home premium, i just follow the steps one by one and when i put my usb disk into my laptop its working.please if there's any other ways it will be helpful for me

    Thank you all

  • Method 2 worked only once for those pen drives which driver were already installed but when I insert newer Pen Drive then method 2 also discontinue.

    After denying the access of USBSTOR.INF and *.PNF when I inserted the newer USB, it detected and install the driver and working also change the value 4 to 3 automatically for installed USB in Regedit??

  • Very useful tanks lot

  • Hi, I tried it On Windows MultiPoint 2012 but it still reads the USB disks and shows them. But previously it worked on windows 8.1 perfectly. what to do now?

  • @rock@ag

    hey VG, thanks for your post very much cause its leaded me to the solution .
    BUT as "rock@ag" it's working only with already know Drives for the PC and any new drive will be installed normally :O

    the solution for both OLD and NEW Drives is:
    1- following method 2 till step 3
    2- change permissions for the node folder of USBSTOR it self to deny all (System,administrators,users)
    reg node is: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStor
    and you have to take the ownership of this folder first to be able to edit all permissions

    Once you do this any new device would fails at installation level

    I hope you update the blog post to spread the knowledge :)

  • its very useful thanks

  • I blockd usb same way .. but after some time it is automatic enabled.. please tell me how to desable it parmanantli?

  • Thanks its Verry usefull for me

  • Any tool (FRee) to disable USB drives only.....?

  • I tried your method to only restrict user from using usb. But it appears that I, as an administrator cannot read the usb too. Please help.

  • Wow!! fantastic, thanks dude.

  • Dear

    how can i put the above procedure in a group of command and run it via note pad executable file

    is that possible

  • Thank You for help me !

  • how to disable usb drives only on windows?

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