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Prevent USB Data Theft

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 by | Filed Under: Desktop Enhancement

Would you like to prevent your employees from copying sensitive data?

Using a simple Registry setting, you can add an extra layer of defense to your computer and prevent anyone from copying your sensitive information with a USB flash drive.
This Registry setting will make all your USB ports read only, just like a DVD. This setting works on Windows XP and Windows Vista. You must log into your administrator account or have administrative rights on your current account.

For this to work in Windows XP, you must have at least Service Pack 2.

To change a Registry setting, we must open the Registry Editor.( If you are uncomfortable with using the registry editor, then consult a professional to help you out!)

For Windows XP, go to the Start Menu and click on the Run command, situated above the Turn off Computer button. Then type the command regedit in the Open box, and click the OK button.

For Windows Vista, go to the Start Menu and type the command regedit in the Start Search box (just above the Start button) and press Enter from the keyboard.


The Registry Editor will now open.

The setting we need to change, is located in the Registry structure, at the following address: HKEY_LOCAL_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies

If the key (keys look like folders) StorageDevicePolicies already exists, skip this step.

If it does not exist, you must first click the plus sign next to HKEY_LOCAL_Machine, to reveal System.

Then click the plus sign, next to System, to reveal CurrentControlSet.

Finally click the plus sign, next to CurrentControlSet, to reveal Control.

Right click Control, in the menu, select New, and then click on Key.


This will create a new key. Name the new key: StorageDevicePolicies and press Enter from the keyboard.

Now right click the StorageDevicePolicies key and in the menu, select New and click on DWORD value or DWORD(32bit) for Vista users. Name the new DWORD value: WriteProtect and press Enter from the keyboard.


Right click on the WriteProtect value, and in the menu, select Modify.

In the dialog box, change the 0 to a 1 and click the OK button.


Now exit the Registry Editor by clicking File and then Exit from the menu.


Finally restart your computer to activate your protection against data theft.

If you decide, you want to change your computer back to the way it was, or let someone copy files from your computer to a USB flash drive, simply repeat the steps above, and change the 1 back to a 0.

~Cosmin Ursachi

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