Windows laptop offers different ways of connecting and communicating to other devices. Universal Serial Bus, commonly known as USB, is one of the most important ways used for multiple purposes. Almost all Windows laptop models come with two or more USB ports. Though useful, there are situations you may want to disable the USB ports in your computer. In this article, we will explain 4 methods to disable USB ports in Windows 11 laptops. If you are looking for fixing USB device, then check our article on how to fix USB device in Windows computer.
Usages of USB Ports in Computer
When we hear the term USB, what comes into our mind is usually the flash drive that is used to store data. Apart from that, USB has various usages as listed below. Therefore, make sure you do no need any of these things before trying to disable it on your computer.
- Connect different devices such as keyboards, mouse, headphones, etc.
- For data storage and data backup.
- Transferring files between your devices.
- Used as a bootable device for installing Windows.
- It can be used for charging external devices like tablets and smartphones.
Why Disable USB Devices?
Though there could be many reasons, here the two main reasons to disable USB ports.
- Virus protection – since USB devices can be used easily with multiple devices, it often carries malware harmful to your device.
- Data privacy protection – you may need to protect your data and avoid others can just plug in a flash drive and copy your important files. For example, you may be working as a network administrator or running a small business with few employees and want to keep the data safer.
How to Disable USB Devices in Windows 11?
Whatsoever is the reason, here are the 4 simple methods to disable USB ports in Windows 11.
1. Disable Device from Device Manager
You can disable the USB devices by navigating to the Device Manager app. For that, follow these simple steps.
- Click the search button or icon in the taskbar and type “Device Manager”. The Device Manager application will appear at the top of search results and click to open the app.
- When you are in Device Manager, scroll down to the bottom and expand “Universal Serial Bus controllers” option.
- Right-click on the USB device you want to disable and select “Disable device” option.
After disabling the device, restart your computer and insert a USB device to see if this method has worked for you. If the USB device is disabled, your computer will not recognize the USB and you will not be able to read data from it.
2. Uninstalling USB Drivers
Instead of disabling the device, you can also uninstall the USB driver from your computer. Good part is that you can uninstall USB drivers from the same Device Manager app. However, make sure you have backup driver files or downloaded the files from online to install when you want to enable the USB back.
- Instead of searching and opening Device Manager, you can also open it from Start menu. Right-click on the Start icon from taskbar to open the power user menu. From the list, find “Device Manager” and open the app.
- After opening Device Manager, go to “Universal Serial Bus controllers” option and expand it.
- Right-click on “USB Mass Storage Device” and this time select “Uninstall Device” option.
- This will uninstall the drivers and remove the device from the list.
Remember, when you insert a USB device into the computer, the system will automatically look for the drivers and recommends installing those missing ones. You can ignore the driver installation or easily install the drivers again if you want to use the USB device.
3. Using Local Group Policy Editor
You can also disable USB devices by using the Group Policy Editor application. This is the suitable option when you manage multiple computers in the network. However, this works only on Windows Pro, Enterprise or Education edition as policy editor app is not available in Windows Home edition.
- Press “Windows + R” keys to open the Run prompt.
- In the search box, type gpedit.msc and click “OK” button.
- This will open Local Group Policy Editor app and navigate to the “Administrative Templates” option on the left side under “Computer Configuration” section.
- Expand “Administrative Templates” and double click on the “System” option to expand it.
- In the “System” section, locate “Removable Storage Access” item on the right side of the screen. Double click and open it.
- Look for “Removal Disks: Deny read access” and “Removal Disks: Deny write access” options.
- First, double click on the “Removable Disks: Deny read access” to open it. You will see the options to Enabled, Disabled and Not Configured on the left side. Select “Enabled” option and click “Apply” button to disable the read access to USB devices. Repeat the same procedure for “Removal Disks: Deny write access” to remove the write access.
Close the policy editor app and restart your device so these changes can be in effect. Now, check by plugging in an USB and confirm the read or write or both accesses are removed.
4. Using Registry Editor
Hopefully, the methods mentioned above should work for you. But if you still cannot disable USB devices, another alternate method is disabling it using the Registry Editor application. Since editing registry entries is not recommended you can try this as a last option. Also, make sure to backup your registry before editing so that you can restore if required.
- Type “Registry Editor” in search box and open the application.
- Copy the below path and paste it into the Registry Editor’s address bar. Press enter key to navigate to that path.
- Now, double click on the “Start” option that you can see on the right side of the screen. On the pop-up that appears, you will see the “Value data” as 3 in Hexadecimal Base value. You have to change the “Value data” to 4 and press “OK” button.
You have successfully disabled the USB device, after that, restart the device. You can now check it by inserting a USB device and see if this solution worked for you.
5. Disable USB Ports in BIOS or UEFI
It is also possible to disable the USB ports and HDD from your BIOS or UEFI setup. You can access the BIOS by pressing F2 key when booting the system. However, the process may change depending on the manufacturer and check out our article on how to access BIOS/UEFI in various laptop models. In our case, we find the option in the “Main” page under “Advanced” section. You may need to scan through the available settings to find the option in your BIOS/UEFI interface.
USB has lot of importance in our daily life in this era of technology. However, with advantages come certain threats, such as someone stealing your data. USB connection is especially a problem when you are giving your device to someone or sharing a computer. Hopefully, the methods mentioned above helped you in disabling USB devices in Windows 11 computers to protect your data and device from malware.