Group PolicyWindows 10Windows Server

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. The USB stands for universal serial bus. USB’s are typically used to plug devices such as mice, keyboards, printers, 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. The 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. 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

The GPO is ready. We will apply this GPO to an OU. This OU contains the computers. 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

Prajwal Desai

Hi, I am Prajwal Desai. For last few years I have been working on multiple technologies such as SCCM / Configuration Manager, Intune, Azure, Security etc. I created this site so that I can share valuable information with everyone.

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43 Comments

  1. hi every body. i have 175 client but they arent in a domain . how disable all client usb exept mouse and keyboard by policy from active directory dhcp?

  2. I would like to disable all removable media access, but this is not practical for business. Is there a way to disable all access, but allow the administrators to override so that someone can use a USB stick and had the admin allow it with their credentials?

  3. quick question bro if we do gpupdate on each and every client machine it will take time. how can we perform gpupdate without client

  4. Great Sharing Prajwal.. Is there any way to allow the USB Storage access only for Administrators in Windows 10 Work Group devices!

  5. Though disabling USB devices by using group policies if effective, it is not the most user-friendly or easy way to go about it. Nor is it the most secure and effective method. CurrentWare AccessPatrol is an endpoint security software that allows administrators to set endpoint device policies on their network. This software applies to more than just USB devices, as it can be used to block or allow smart phones, sound cards, adapters, bluetooth devices and much more. From one central console, administrators can apply endpoint security policies and they can even run reports to see endpoint activity in their network. One of the most popular endpoint reports is the File Operations History report that shows all of the endpoint devices that were connected on the network and the files/programs that were copied, deleted, or moved from each specific device.

    I’ve been using AccessPatrol to protect the network in my medical clinic to prevent data breaches since the medical data of my patients is critical to my business and it can not be exploited.

  6. We’re using ThreatLocker in our company. It’s easy to manage and allows blocking USB devices, DVD/BD, etc. It also helps with permitting or denying path access to our fileservers and application whitelisting.

  7. right clicking on the group policy objects and clicking new will not create the thing you’ve made a screenshot of … next time before you jump over a few steps, please decide if you make a step by step tutorial for the average user or for yourself. (the latter doesn’t need a tutorial)

  8. Thanks for the article. Do you know if there is a way to allow only a group of USB sticks (based maybe on hardware ID) on user’s computers and block all other USB drives? Maybe a company can buy a number of USB corporate sticks which can be allowed to work on user’s computers but all other USB sticks should be denied.

    Thanks

  9. hi I applied the policy and it was applied I could see that using gpresult /r but when I insert usb I am able to copy to and from usb. in this case I was loged on server 2012r2 as regular user I see all other policy are applied and working but usb deny is not working eventhough it is applied

  10. dear sir,
    We having win2008r2 server now we are planning to implement sccm . how we can configure sccm suggest the license details also
    thankyou

  11. 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.

    I am at this stage but all i see is my “Block USB” object is in “Group Policy Object” Thus, i cant right click and Link an Existing GPO.

  12. 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

  13. Hi Prajwal, excellent article. Well I am new to Group Policies. My question is that configuring this policy will also disable the usb mouse and keyboard ?

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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