You can enable/disable USB port of PC / Laptop in BIOS setting. This will prevent and restrict computer users from accessing any external storage devices (flash drive, memory cards, pen drives, portable hard disks) and external action devices like keyboard, mouse, scanners, printers, web cams and such, through the USB port.
The advantage of this is, you restrict users from copying and transferring sensitive data to and from the computer. This is mostly a necessity in: offices to protect intellectual property and cybercafe / public browsing centers to prevent users from knowingly or unknowingly infecting the system with viruses.
Now what if you’d want to block only the storage devices and not keyboards, mouse and other media devices from accessing the system ? This is not possible with the BIOS setup changes, however there is a work around for this, which can be achieved by hacking the registry:
Here’s how you can disable USB storage device drive access in windows :
1> Click on “Start –> Run –> Type regedit and hit Enter.”
2> Navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStor”
3> Select the key UsbStor and double click on the Start value, which can be found in the right pane.
4> In Value data part, put 4 (numeric value four), if you want to disable USB storage and put in 3 (numeric value 3), if you want to enable USB storage on your computer.
The change will be effective immediately, however sometimes a reboot may be required. This hack will ensure that all the USB storage devices are disabled / blocked or enabled according to your choice. This works fine on most Windows operating systems such as XP, Vista, Windows server 2000, 2003, and 2008.
If you are not sure how to edit Registry files and are not comfortable dealing with them, download these zip files which contain .reg files. Once you extract the content of these zip files on to your local system, double click on the file and click OK to the warning prompt, and the registry changes will be made automatically.