How to disable read or write access for your removable storage devices in Windows

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You have several removable storage devices containing sensitive files, but now you want to prevent others from making changes to these files. However, you don’t know where to start.


Fortunately, there are ways to prevent people from spying on your removable storage devices. We’ll show you the different ways to disable read or write access for your storage devices in Windows.


How to disable read access on removable storage devices

Read access allows other users to see your files but prevents them from making changes. Now let’s see how to disable read access on your removable storage devices.

Using the Local Group Policy Editor

The Local Group Policy Editor (LGPE) can help you disable read access on your storage devices. In fact, this tool also lets you easily prevent others from pinning apps to the taskbar.

Here’s how to disable read access on your storage devices using LGPE:

  1. Type Edit Group Policy in the Start menu search bar.
  2. Right click on the Best Match result and select Execute as administrator.
  3. Move towards Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Removable Storage Access.
  4. Locate it Removable disks: deny read access option on the right side.

To disable read access, double-click the Removable disks: deny read access option and select Enabled. Otherwise, select either Disabled Where Not configured to enable read access. Finally, press Apply then press OKAY to save these changes.

You can also apply the same settings for the CDs and DVDs, custom classes, floppy drives, tape drivesand WPD devices LGPE options.

Using the Registry Editor

Registry Editor can also help disable read access to your removable storage devices. But before you start, consider backing up the registry. This way, you’ll be on the safe side in case you modify or delete sensitive registry keys.

Here’s how to disable read access to storage devices using Registry Editor:

  1. Type Registry Editor in the Start menu search bar.
  2. Right click on the Best Match result and select Execute as administrator.
  3. Next, copy-paste the following command into the address bar and press Walk in:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindows

From there, follow these steps:

  1. Right click on the the Windows key.
  2. Select New > Keythen name the key like Removable storage devices.
  3. Right click on the Removable storage devices button and select New > Key. Name this key as {53f5630d-b6bf-11d0-94f2-00a0c91efb8b}.
  4. Right-click on the right side and select New > DWORD (32-bit) value.
  5. Name the value as Refuse_Read.

To disable read access, double-click the Refuse_Read value and set the Value data as 1. Otherwise, set the Value data as 0 to enable read access to your storage devices.

You can also apply changes to CDs and DVDs, custom classes, floppy drives, tape drivesand WPD devices options. However, you may need to create different file paths for various storage devices.

In this article, we will show you how to make changes to the WPD devices options. Simply put, WPD devices refer to Windows portable devices (such as cell phones and other media players).

Here’s how to disable read access on WPD devices using the Registry Editor:

  1. Open the Registry Editor and access the Removable storage devices key by applying the previous methods.
  2. Right click on the Removable storage devices option and select New > Key. Then name the key as {6AC27878-A6FA-4155-BA85-F98F491D4F33}.
  3. Right click on the right side, select New > DWORD (32-bit) valuethen name the value as Refuse_Read.
  4. To disable read access on WPD devices, double-click the Refuse_Read value and set the Value data as 1. Otherwise, set the Value data as 0 to enable read access.

How to Disable Write Access to Removable Storage Devices

Write access allows other users to view and edit your files. Now let’s see how to disable write access to your removable storage devices.

Using the Local Group Policy Editor

Here’s how to use the Local Group Policy Editor to disable write access to your removable storage devices:

  1. Type Edit Group Policy in the Start menu search bar.
  2. Right click on the Best Match result and select Execute as administrator.
  3. Move towards Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Removable Storage Access.
  4. Locate it Removable disks: deny write access option on the right side. To disable write access, double-click this option and then select Enabled. Otherwise, select Disabled Where Not configured to enable write access.

Hurry Apply then press OKAY to save these changes.

From there, apply the same changes to the CDs and DVDs, custom classes, floppy drives, tape drivesand WPD devices options.

Using the Registry Editor

Here’s how to disable write access using the Registry Editor:

  1. Type Registry Editor in the Start menu search bar.
  2. Right click on the Best Match result and select Execute as administrator.
  3. Next, copy-paste the following command into the address bar and press Walk in:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindows

From there, click on the Removable storage devices button, followed by {53f5630d-b6bf-11d0-94f2-00a0c91efb8b} key.

If these keys are missing, right click on the the Windows button, select New > Keythen name the key like Removable storage devices. Then right click on the Removable storage devices button and select New > Key. Name this key as {53f5630d-b6bf-11d0-94f2-00a0c91efb8b}.

From there, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the right side and select New > DWORD (32-bit) value.
  2. Name the value as Refuse_write.

To disable write access, double-click the Refuse_write value and set the Value data as 1. Otherwise, set the Value data as 0 to enable write access to your storage devices.

In the meantime, here’s how to disable read access on the WPD Devices option:

  1. Open the Registry Editor and access the Removable storage devices key by applying the previous methods.
  2. Then open the {6AC27878-A6FA-4155-BA85-F98F491D4F33} key. If it is missing, right click on the Removable storage devices option, select New > Keyand name the key like {6AC27878-A6FA-4155-BA85-F98F491D4F33}.
  3. Right-click on an empty space on the right, select New > DWORD (32-bit) valuethen name the value as Refuse_write.
  4. To disable write access to WPD devices, double-click the Refuse_write value and set the Value data as 1. Otherwise, set the Value data as 0 to enable write access.

How to Disable Read and Write Access to All Your Removable Storage Devices

Now, what if you want to disable read and write access for all your devices simultaneously? Let’s see how to do it.

Using the Local Group Policy Editor

Here’s how to simultaneously disable read and write access for all your removable storage devices:

  1. Type Edit Group Policy in the Start menu search bar.
  2. Right click on the Best Match result and select Execute as administrator.
  3. Move towards Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Removable Storage Access.
  4. Locate it All classes of removable storage: deny all access options on the right. To deny read and write access to your storage devices, double-click this option and select Enabled. Otherwise, select either Disabled Where Not configured to allow read and write access.

Hurry Apply then press OKAY to save these changes.

Using the Registry Editor

Here’s how Registry Editor can help you simultaneously disable read and write access for all your storage devices:

  1. Type Registry Editor in the Start menu search bar.
  2. Right click on the Best Match result and select Execute as administrator.
  3. Next, copy-paste the following command into the address bar and press Walk in:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsRemovableStorageDevices

From there, double click on an empty space on the right and select New > DWORD (32-bit) value. Then name the new value as deny all.

To disable read and write access, double-click the deny all value and set the Value data as 1. Otherwise, set the Value data as 0 to enable read and write access to all your removable storage devices.

No one will modify the files on your removable storage devices again

By default, other users should be able to edit files on your removable storage devices. But if you apply the methods we have described, no one will tamper with your files anymore.

To add an extra layer of security, you can consider protecting your storage devices with Windows’ BitLocker To Go feature.

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