How to disable access to removable storage devices on Windows 10?

All modern PCs come with a USB port. Anyone can easily connect a removable storage device (e.g., USB flash drives, external hard drives, or other mass storage media) to access import or export data. External devices are prone to viruses, malware, and Trojan horse. However, it is effortless to use, and a large amount of data can be moved to small devices. Hence, the popularity of USB flash drives is increasing day by day.

If you are one of those who want to restrict access to these types of external devices on Windows 10 because they may contain malware/viruses that can harm your computer, this post will help.

It is also useful for keeping sensitive data on your PC, and you want to disable read/write access to removable storage devices. This post will help lock down the system to stop anyone from trying to make a copy of certain information and improve security.

Reasons may be many; Microsoft Windows 10 includes settings that let you disable access to all removable storage devices using the Local Group Policy Editor. It is also possible to use Registry Editor to disable access to removable storage devices on Windows 10, but we don’t recommend Registry editing.

How to disable access to removable storage devices on Windows 10 using Group Policy?

On Windows 10 Pro (Enterprise or education), it is the easiest way to prevent users from accessing removable storage using the Local Group Policy Editor. If you are running Windows 10 Home Edition, enable the Group Policy (gpedit.msc) first, then do the following:-

Step 1. Click on the Start menu and type gpedit.msc.

Step 2. From the search results, click on gpedit.msc to open the Local Group Policy Editor.

Step 3. Navigate to the following path:-

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System

Step 4. Scroll down from the right-pane and double-click on the Removable Storage Access.

Step 5. From the available results on the right-side pane, double-click the All Removable Storage classes: Deny all access.

Step 6. Select the Enabled option, then click on Apply, then the OK button.

Once the above-mentioned steps are completed, Windows 10 will deny access to all removable storage devices, including USB flash drives, USB external hard drives, physical discs (such as CD and DVD), and other storage that falls into the removable class.

To enable the access of removable media, in step 6, select the Not Configured option.

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