How to disable USB devices using Group Policy

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How to disable USB devices using Group Policy In this post we will see the steps on how to disable USB devices using group policy. In today’s world almost everyone owns one or more USB devices, USB (universal serial bus) connections are typically used to plug devices such as mice, keyboards, scanners, printers, webcams, digital cameras, mobile phones, and external hard disks into your computer. One of the reason for popularity of the USB devices is they are easiest devices that can be connected to your computer. The first time you connect a device that plugs into a USB port, Windows automatically identifies the device and installs a driver for that device. Since USB devices are portable and can be connected easily to the computers these devices pose very real security threats. Some organizations do not allow USB devices to be connected to the computers, they disable the USB devices using group policy or block it using group policy. We will now look at the steps on how to disable USB devices using group policy.

How to disable USB devices using Group Policy

In this post we have a domain controller running on Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter edition and a client that is a part of domain running Windows 7 Professional SP1 edition. The group policy to disable USB devices will be created on domain controller and we will be applying it on a OU containing the computer account WIN7.

How to disable USB devices using Group Policy

Launch the Group Policy Management tool on the domain controller, right click Group Policy Objects, click New. Provide a name to the GPO and click OK. In this example I have named the group policy as Block USB Devices.

How to disable USB devices using Group Policy

Right click the policy and click Edit.  This will open Group Policy Management Editor. Navigate to Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\System\Removable Storage Access. This is the place where you find settings for Removable Storage Access devices. There are lot of USB settings for multiple devices, however we will configure a setting All Removable Storage classes: Deny all access.

How to disable USB drives using Group Policy

Right click on the setting All Removable Storage classes: Deny all access and click Edit. If you enable this policy then it will block access to any removable storage class that you connect to the computer. Click Enabled and click Apply and then OK.

How to disable USB drives using Group Policy

So far we have created a group policy object, the next step is to link the GPO to the OU containing the computer accounts for which the USB devices are to be blocked. Right click on the OU and click Link an Existing GPO.

How to disable USB drives using Group Policy

From the list of GPO’s select the policy Block USB Devices and click OK.

How to disable USB drives using Group Policy

Perform a group policy update on the client using the command gpupdate /force. Connect any USB device to the computer and you should see the message as Access is denied. The policy that we applied will prevent users from mounting any class of removable media.

How to disable USB drives using Group Policy

  • @Kurt – You mean you want to create a policy where users are allowed to set simple passwords for their accounts ?

  • In that case you need to set Password must meet complexity requirements to disabled.
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc786468%28v=ws.10%29.aspx?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396

  • Kichu

    From the link for how to block USB access using GPO. If in an organization we are applying this policy to all the users(including BYOD users) and If the BYOD users use their systems outside the network, will it be possible to use USB even logging with domain account.

    Please confirm if any alternate way is available.

  • Zaid khan

    Hi thanx for the wonderful information , i am new to system admin so i am working for a organisation where we have 100 computers connected to a network with windows server 2012 i don’t have any security for network so want to know for antivirus which is best for a network i heard we get antivirus server what is that and how do i access users remotely which software usually companies uses to access systems remotely for issues.

  • rath

    Sorry disable administrator or disable all users, because when i do this it disable only admin not user

  • Lon

    Good instructions thanks Prajwal. I have implemented this successfully but was wondering how to enable USB storage for a group of users on the USB disabled PCs. I thought I could simply copy this GPO but select disabled instead of enabled and then move it up the list when linking the GPO so it takes precedence. So far not working. Any ideas? Thanks, Lon