Configuring Windows 7/Vista systems to use USB storage devices
A common problem with using corporate/office laptops/desktops is the restrictions imposed by system administrators. One common issue faced by most people is the restriction on connecting USB flash drives or USB hard drives to corporate laptops. System admins see usage of mass storage devices as a threat to intellectual property (IP) and use a variety of measures to stop users from using such devices.
One simple technique used by many admins is the usage of Windows 7/Vista group security policy setting. Using the group policy in Windows, a system admin can control the device drivers that can be installed on a system. In this list, a system admin would typically include USB mass storage device drivers. If you happen to have administrative privileges on the laptop, you can change this setting. To change this:
- Click start->run and type gpedit.msc. Click OK to open the local group policy editor.
- In the left pane of the window that opens, navigate to Local Computer Policy->Computer Configuration->Administrative templates->System->Device installation->Device installation restrictions
- In the right pane, locate a setting that says “Prevent installation of devices that match any of these ids”.
- Right click on the setting, choose edit, select “disabled” and click OK.
This should remove any device id/device driver based restrictions imposed. You can now connect your favorite USB storage device.