Restricting users from writing to USB flash drives in Windows XP
A lot of companies with higher security requirements are concerned about the possibility of users copying confidential data on to their USB memory sticks and taking it off site. Luckily Windows XP Service Pack 2 offers a solution. It supports a registry entry that will make the USB drive read-only. Here’s the procedure.
1. Start the registry editor (regedit.exe).
2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control.
3. From the Edit menu, select New, Key, and type StorageDevicePolicies. If this key already exists then skip to the next step.
4. Highlight the newly created key StorageDevicePolicies and from the Edit menu select New, DWORD Value, type WriteProtect and press Enter.
5. Double-click WriteProtect and enter 1 for Value data. The value 1 makes all the USB drives read-only, a value of 0 will make them writable.
6. Close the registry editor and restart the computer.
Make sure that your users aren’t using any other USB storage devices such as hard drives or rewritable CD/DVD drives because the above registry modification will make all USB storage devices read-only.