How to disable the USB ports

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

USB portsSometimes, users may need to disable the USB ports on a computer to prevent device interaction. The action can be especially useful in work environments as it prevents the unauthorized copying of sensitive data. Disabling USB ports also keeps a network from becoming infected with viruses or other malware.

Tip: If you want to enable USB ports on your computer, follow the steps on the page below, but choose the enable option instead of disable option where applicable.

Disable the USB ports through BIOS setup

  1. Enter the BIOS setup.
  2. Once in the BIOS setup, check the menus for an option to enable or disable the onboard USB ports.
  3. Make sure all USB options and Legacy USB Support options are disabled or off.
  4. Save and Exit the BIOS after making the changes. Typically, the F10 key is used to save and exit.
  5. After the computer has rebooted, check the USB ports to make sure they have been disabled.

Disabling USB in Windows

If your computer's BIOS setup only allows you to disable some or none of the USB ports and you are running Windows XP or later, then complete the following.

Note: The steps below edit the Windows Registry. Be aware that changing any values improperly can cause errors or Windows to not boot.

Tip: The steps below only disable any USB storage device from automatically opening or running when connected to the computer (e.g., flash drive). USB devices like the keyboard and mouse will still work.

  1. Access the Run box or the Search box in the Windows Start Menu.
  2. Open the Windows Registry by typing regedit in the Run or Search box.
  3. In the Registry editor, open the below folder.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR

  1. In the USBSTOR, locate the Start DWORD and double-click "Start" to edit the value. Change the Value data to "4" and then click Ok.
  2. Once completed, close the Registry editor. Windows will no longer start the USB device when detected.

Tip: If you need to enable the USB ports, follow the above steps, but in step 4, change the value of the Start DWORD to a "3" instead of a "4".

Caution: The above steps only work if the USB storage driver has already been installed. If the USB storage driver has not been installed, the value gets reset back to 3 when connecting a USB storage device and Windows installs the drivers.

Disconnect USB

Although it may not be possible to disconnect the USB ports from a motherboard, USB on the front or top of the computer can be disconnected by disconnecting the cable from the USB header. Disconnecting these USB ports can be helpful in preventing users from easily attaching USB devices without having to go to the back of the computer.

Tip: Some motherboards may also have jumpers that can be used to disable USB.