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How can we enable or disable USB ports on a PC running Windows Vista?

I have 6 USB ports; 2 in front and 4 at the back. Is it possible to disable the front USB ports and enable 4 ports at the back?

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The only way to disable the ports in software is to disable the USB Root Hub device that the ports are connected to.

There's no way to determine in software which port connects with which hub. However, you can use the Windows Device Manager (set the view to Devices by Connection mode) to locate the USB Root Hub devices on your system. When you plug a USB device into a port, Device Manager will update the view to show which hub the device is connected to.

You can then disable that port by disabling the hub it's connected to. This will also disable all other ports connected to that hub. There is no way around this.

The DevCon command-line utility functions as an alternative to Device Manager (more about using DevCon). You can use this to enable/disable the hub devices from the commandline.

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The two front ports probably have a cable running from the front of the pc to the motherboard, just unplug it. It usually runs to a block of pins about 2 pins by 5 I think.

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  1. Go to Start → Run, type regedit and hit Enter or click on the OK button.

  2. Browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStor. Notice the value Start, it should currently be set to 3.

  3. Change the value to 4 to disable USB storage devices, and back to 3 to enable them.

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If you want a more physical method of preventing USB access, Kensington now has locks you can insert into the USB port which prevents access. When you need to use USB port, use the key to remove lock.

Kensington Locks


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