How-To: Disable and Re-enable USB Storage Devices

The motivation behind writing this post came when over the weekend, i got a chance to meet a few friends who happen to work with an IT Giant here in Bangalore. After a cup of coffee and usual discussions, one of them pointed out that they have an interesting situation in their office, wherein the System Admin team has disabled access to the USB Port thereby leaving their iPods, Digi cams, USB Sticks useless in workspace environment.

USB Storage disabled

As per the Microsoft knowledge base article 823732 which contains instructions on how to disable USB storage access for a certain group of users this diabling and re-enablement of USB ports is based on a simple registry entry.

To disable the access to USB port, in windows XP and 2000
1. Click Start, and then click Run.
2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
3. Locate, and then click the following registry key:
4. In the right pane, double-click Start.
5. In the Value data box, type 4, click Hexadecimal (if it is not already selected), and then click OK.
6. Quit Registry Editor.

To re-enable a disabled port:

1. Click Start, and then click Run.
2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
3. Locate, and then click the following registry key:
4. In the right pane, double-click Start.
5. In the Value data box, type 3, click Hexadecimal (if it is not already selected), and then click OK.
6. Quit Registry Editor.

However, there can be other ways too to bypass this issue, one of the easiest is to invest in a PS2 to USB port convertor.

Also read:

How not to get Phished,Learn from Phil the Fish

Bluetooth hacking: Essential tools.

Spoofing Explained : Another attempt to cover Hacking fundas

Learn to Hack 🙂

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49 Responses

  1. Hi Vaibhav,
    I was not aware of this fact and ur post was really helpful in enabling the USB drive for my friend. The fact was all the USB ports were disabled in her company and this post was of some real help:-)

    Keeping writing and enhancing our knowledge.

  2. great tips and tricks and extremely useful 😉

    man like it 🙂

  3. Thanks Open Giga tech.


  4. I edit the registry but update registry atomaticaly change registry again prviace way.what shall I do

  5. hi Dhansuka,
    Are you using Vista or XP?

  6. Does it makes a difference whether these steps are applied on Vista or XP ???

  7. Well, Shantanu good question. Good to have you commenting back.
    Well, what seems to be happening in case of Dhansuka is actually a group policy setting the value back to 3.
    Also, There’s a new Policy in Vista that allows USB keyboards or mouse to be used but not any USB devices.

  8. Oooo .. i see … thats a good to know info …
    so next time i fight with admin guyz over my mouse working but not the pen drive on the same port … i’ll keep this point in mind !! 🙂

    And i have a question … recently my desktop in office got replaced with a new one … this one having only USB ports .. mouse.. keyboard …monitor … everything is working thru USB ports …. BUT, the LCD montior in my desktop also has 2 USB ports attched to the side of the screen… any idea what they are used for … ??

    I tried some foolish stuff like attaching the keyboard to the USB port in monitor .. but it didn’t worked…

  9. Hi Shantanu,
    Unless your desktop motherboard is designed to use these additional USB ports and has the necessary hardware and cable connections to use themm, then they are unlikely to work. ( i believe this is done using a jumper setting)

    I’ve come across monitors with USB ports frequently. Some of our systems at work even have USB ports on side of the keyboards. I suspect they are USB 1 not USB 2, but have not had the chance to test this out.

    Check out the monitor maanufacturers web site and hand book about how to enable these USB ports.

  10. The monitors I’ve seen with USB ports on them have a USB cable running from the back that you simply plug into a USB port on the back of the computer. That allows the monitor ports to be used–very handy access for your USB flash drives. Kelly Carter

    Hey, any BlackBerry Pearl users here? See my blog at

  11. Hi,

    Im using the Intel Dual Core Processor + Intel R 945 G Mother Board ,+Win XP – SP2.

    I have the 5 USB ports which were working fine earlier. But know when ever im connecting any device like USB cable or Thumb drive its not detecting any thing out of this ..How can i enable the ports i have done the above said procedure
    But stil the ports are not working…Kindly help me in fixing the problem.
    Click Start, and then click Run.
    2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
    3. Locate, and then click the following registry key:
    4. In the right pane, double-click Start.
    5. In the Value data box, type 3, click Hexadecimal (if it is not already selected), and then click OK.
    6. Quit Registry Editor.

  12. […] Also read: How-To: Disable and Re-enable USB Storage Devices […]

  13. my sysad has not disabled the usbstor key (value is hex 3).
    they’ve disabled the ports some other way. it still charges a usb powered mp3 player, but the drive refuses to show up. can’t figure it out. any ideas?

  14. Thanks for the guide. Very useful tip!

    In our company we are limiting usb access with a desktop management solution – desktop authority. It includes powerful usb and port security feature.
    Great benefit of this tool is the ability of granular blocking or allowing the access only to certain usb devices and ports on certain PCs or in certian departments.
    For example, we blocked the access to mp3 players, phones, bluetooth devices for some of our workers.
    In some departments we blocked all usb devices except corporate blackberries.

  15. i want to do somthing…………. in this vista

  16. how can we entered in to the systems security(e) level

  17. hi! i tried doing this to my company assigne desktop but i get this message when changing hex value from 4 to 3:

    “cannot edit start: error writing the value’s new contents”

    did the system administrators set another access restriction on my registry editor?

  18. One possible reason for that failure is because Windows grants read access to many registry entries –you may need to manually grant write permission, even to the Administrator (or ‘Everyone’ if you like), if that’s not set.

    To change the security per-mission perform the following steps :

    Windows 2000:

    1. Security permissions have to be set with RegEdt32 (Start Run, enter RegEdt32). Select the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE window. Open the following fold-ers: SYSTEM, ControlSet, Enum. Select the folder and choose Security Permissions� in the registry editor menu. Give ‘Administrator’ or ‘Everyone’ full control access and apply the new changes. Close RegEdt32.

    2. Start regedit (Start Run, enter regedit) and do the necessary changes as described.

    Windows XP:

    1. Start regedit (Start Run, enter regedit) and choose the folder where new settings have to be applied. Right click and go to Permissions� and set Administrator or ‘Everyone’ to full control access.

    2. In case no Permissions� field is available in the context menu, other settings in the folder options have to be done (Explorer Tools Folder Options View) under Advanced settings, clear “Use simple file sharing [Recommended]”. After this setting the security tag should be visible.

    Hope this helps.

  19. Vaibhav Pandey,

    Thanks! i will try this once im back in my ofc. agailn, thank you very much!!!

  20. Hi guys I have a big problem here because my Run option on windows xp is not present or I think they disable it, is there other way for me to enable my usb port. Thanks!

  21. Here’s the thing, I work in a highly regulated environment on Windows Vista. Almost everything in Vista requires administrator level rights to systems, so editing the registry is completely out. On our systems, things like PSPs and USB Keys are disabled, but you can connect a digital camera. Now, it’s usually much more expensive to buy a digital camera than a USB key, so an enterprising hacker could make a little utility that would emulate a digital camera, thereby completely bypassing the USB restrictions placed on USB keys. Cameras are usually left out because so many people need to use them for video conferencing and I don’t think they make distinctions between video and regular cameras. Just a thought, from someone who would like to find such a utility.

  22. […] of USB Ports Posted on April 21, 2008 by Vaibhav Pandey Previously, i wrote about the hack to enable and disable USB and also the simple way to know if you have a USB1.1 or a USB 2.0 on your PC. In this post which is […]

  23. Hi. Help me please.

    I tried what you wrote, but the Value is now 3. But my usb port is still blocked. I think they use Mc Afee me..

  24. Hey Guyz dis is fantastic, it works, keep the spirit of helping technicians

  25. Hi…Thank you for the advise…This thing really works!

  26. […] Also read: How-To: Disable and Re-enable USB Storage Devices […]

  27. Hi,
    I have a company owned laptop which has a inbuilt video camera but is not enable. please let me know how to enable this and use it..
    thanks in advance. 🙂

  28. Any body know about this plese tell me about that

    i wnat to disable usb port from a windows vista computer , How will i do this?

    Plese suggest me.

  29. Hi.. Do you know how to enable and disable USB devices in a machine using C#? If anybody know this, please shareit ..

  30. help!!!! I’ve tried going to permissions on the reg editor to change my access to ‘Full control’ but i get this error message:

    ‘unable to save permission changes on USBSTOR. Access is denied.’

    is there any work around for this or is our IT dept really that good for them to block USB storage devices to be detected?

    i’d appreciate a lot your responses. =)

  31. thanks a lot!!

  32. Hi,
    i have followed all your steps .hardware is enabled but it is not working.
    It detects new hardware but says that “Unable to install the device your device may not work properly”.i checked in device manager The driver is not properly installed and i do not know how to install driver.In evice manager ” ? ” is coming which means driver is not properly installed.Update driver is also not helping.Tell me now how to enjoy as i connected my IPOD to the usb port.Please guide me.

  33. I’v try to reset security through (regedit, regedt32) but not possible to re-unable my usb port my office is block my usb port pls say any solution ):

  34. same problem with john doe
    i always get an error message

    “cannot change the start value”

    please help…

  35. How am I supposed to do this when I cannot even proceed with after typing “regedit”, as I don’t have the appropiate permission to access that thing . 😦

  36. […] has an interesting tutorial post describing how to disable and enable USB Drives. The blog […]

  37. Vaibhav,

    You mentioned there is a way to access the USB sticks using a PS2 to USB converter. How do you make it work this way?
    I bought a convertor, plugged it in but nothing happens.

  38. Great Tip,Thanks !

  39. i always get an error message

    “cannot change the start value”

  40. i always get an error message

    “cannot change the start value”
    what to do plzzzzzzzzzz help me in this regard

  41. I have done registry settings but still usb drive not working? can any one help me out?

  42. Sir our System Admin. Has disable the USB and Also There is no Option of Run when we Click on the start button. So please help me in this way HOw can i Enable the USB port. Please reply Soon

  43. hey guys an easy solution is finding a copy of damn small Linux and boot within the host operation system and its has usb support and other circumventing qualities

  44. I opened the registry Editor But after performing all the steps
    An Error Editing Value occured, Written
    Cannot edit Start: Error writing the values new contents

    Please help me in this situation
    I want to enable the USB which was Disabled by our Admin. I have Limited account for performing the steps Plzzzzzzzzzzz reply soon

  45. Hi,
    We haev domain controller in place (Gpupdate) for USB block this case how do u disable that.. pls let me know. Urgent..

  46. Hi Guys, unfortunately when I tried to run RegEdt32 I recieve a message that the Registry Editor was disabled by the administrator. I´ still need to enable the usb port, but have no idea how. Can anyone help?

  47. Hi everybody, i have problem with my action. i disable all usb ports in device manager, therefore disable keyboard, mouse… so i can’t access through windows. and i recorgnise my computer have no ps/2 port. the only way i can do is shutdown my computer and ask eveybody. pls help me.

  48. Hi,
    I have a laptop with Windows Vista.
    My USB port is disabled. By default the value in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStor
    start is 3.
    But still it is not enabled. Could be please help me to get the USB port enabled?


  49. I still cant get my USB device to work. Its mp3 player and not showing up as drive..

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