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Can I prevent my USB "thumb" drive from being "run" when inserted in ANOTHER'S computer

Posted on 2008-10-30
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I would like to see something that is a general "fix" but needs to be at least for XP and Vista.  Both will autorun the USB drive when it is inserted after loading any drivers, etc.  I want the drivers to still load but want to prevent either the OS or some program from scanning the drive.  It would even be nice to stop the popup Windows uses to ask what I want to do with the drive but that isn't as annoying.  There are many programs though that are scanning to find docs, images, etc they can archive, use, etc.  I mainly want to prevent that.  It is my drive and they don't need to snoop. :)

Let me know if there is a question about this or the set up.  Thanks!

bol
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Question by:b0lsc0tt
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by:jckingjc
ID: 22847152
Hi b0lsc0tt,

You can disable CD, USB and other drives Autorun fuctions by below method.

--------------Under windows XP professional.

Go "Start" => "run". Type in "gpedit.msc". Then go under "local computer policy" => "Computer configuration" => Administrative Temlates" => "System"

There is a policy called "Turn off Autoplay". You can choose either apply it for all drives or CD drive only. Then double click on it and click on "enable". Close group Policy.

--------------Under windows XP home & windows 2000

Go "Start" => "run". Type in "regedit.msc". Then go under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer. Then edit "NoDriveTypeAutoRun" value to 255 (This will disable all device autorun, Set the value to 95 if you just want disable USB autorun but still want CD-ROM auto run.)

--------------Under windows Vista

Go "control panel" => "Sound and Multimedia" =>"Autorun control" Then untick option for "autorun for all device"
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by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 22847245
jckingjc,
Thanks for the info but I actually need something that will work on any computer the drive is plugged in to.  In otherwords is there a way to get that same result without disabling it in the OS like in your steps.  I am looking for a way to protect my drive(s) even if the person does have autorun enabled for drives on their computer.
I hope this clears up the question.  Thanks again for that info.  I have already done that on computers I have and it is great info. :)
bol
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by:Makaveli213
Makaveli213 earned 150 total points
ID: 22847442
If they have auto run enabled there is no way to stop it from coming up.  Unless they manually turn off the autorun feature.  IU have checked around on Google and such and there is no way to prevent it unless it is turned off on the PC.
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nobus earned 200 total points
ID: 22848213
you can zip the contents, and put a password on it.
it's about the only solution i know of
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by:chilternPC
ID: 22848766
yep - its down to the PC not the USB stick -
since it is the users PC that is being used, the security is really to stop sticks being inserted into machines without permission. presumably you have inserted the usb stick into the users PC with his permission and so seeing a pop up is ok.
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by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 22851515
presumably you have inserted the usb stick into the users PC with his permission
Definitely.  To give a little more info the motivation for this is I have a USB stick with a mix of personal info and utilities.  Personal info like stuff to set up specific networks or work on.  I use the USB drive because the user wants me to do something to there computer.  I just get annoyed when Windows or especially some programs like photo or indexing programs start to scan the drive.  Basically it just wastes some time (even if I quickly press Cancel/Stop/etc) but a little part of it is feeling the drive has been "violated."    I need the drive to be usable on that machine but just hope to find some option that will make this better.
Is there any way to put an autorun.inf on the drive that does nothing?  Any idea on what to have it do?  Of course I am afraid that file may not stop (or distract) 3rd party programs looking for images or docs but let me know what you think of the idea.
you can zip the contents, and put a password on it.
Thanks for the suggest Nobus.  It is tempting and I will look into it.  My main concern is accessing the contents of the zip and modifying them while they are in the zip using its "program" (i.e. a text file in the zip opened and changed with Notepad).  Any thoughts on this?
Makaveli213,
It would be nice if everyone had autorun turned off in my opinion but that is definitely wishful thinking on my part and some users need autorun to function.  If your last sentence means you Google'd  and didn't find a solution then I did that before asking this. :)  One hard thing about this question though is the search terms offer results to other solutions and/or make it hard to narrow the results.  Let me know if I misread the last sentence but if it was just your conclusion after a Google search then I posted this hoping for better. :)  My fault completely for not making that clearer in my question (I usually do) but I am usually amazed at what experts can provide that Google can't. ;)
All,
Is there a way to stop autorun, even for other programs?  This could provide a solution but the old "hold down the shift key" solution that worked for CDs doesn't seem to even stop Windows from bring up it "what do you want to do" screen.  Of course I wouldn't want the key or steps to interfere with Windows setting up the drive for use but a solution like this would answer my question.  I am really doubtful it exists though. :(
Thanks for all the responses, your time and input.  If I can't have the ideal solution then at least an option or two that are close will be nice.  I will also keep this open for a bit to see if I can get others but I know there are already some great experts here.  If any have a suggestion for a zone to add this to then let me know that too.  Thanks!
bol
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by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 22851640
Makaveli213,
One follow up because I don't want my comment to you to be misread.  I do know the answer here may be "you can't" so please don't think I will ignore that.  Congrats on the 2 years of MS MVPs and I appreciate the response that comes with that experience and knowledge.  I am just hoping for some "out of the box" idea (sort of like the zip idea) or an uncommon setting/trick for a solution.  I hope this clears up any possible misunderstanding from my response.
bol
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by:nobus
ID: 22851909
the autorun is a OS feature, so you can't control it from the usb device ; info :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autorun
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by:chilternPC
ID: 22852709
I'm sure there is some little program you could put on there with the auto run - as I recently bought a stick with some clever (but not needed) software - everytime I insert the stick ot offers to run that software - at least it doesn't  try to index it with the clients adove photo album
(I deleted the software i-  n the end as the cost of sticks are so low I have several - to keep the personal stuff away from the others  and utility ones :-)
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by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 22854250
nobus,

I may misunderstand part of your post so let me know if that is the case.  When I said autorun I meant the autorun.inf file that may be on the device to tell the computer what to do.  I was wondering if it could be used to provide my solution.  I don't really want to run other software (see response to ChilternPC below) but might be OK if it opened Explorer (since I usually need that).  You may just be pointing out that Autorun is a feature of the OS and I agree but I was hoping that file may be a way to control what autorun does on this drive.
ChilternPC,

I deleted the software
I have done the same thing on my drives if it had preinstalled software.  I am already careful about what I have on my various USB drives and may be I will need to get another one or two.  It would be nice to not have to carry more though and the main motivation of this is my annoyance that it happens.  I disabled it on my computer and was just really hoping to have a way to have it apply to my drives. :)  It is looking sort of hopeless though.
Thanks for the responses.  Let me know if there are any new thoughts on this.
bol
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by:chilternPC
chilternPC earned 150 total points
ID: 22854316
it'll probably go away in windows 7 in cloud :-)
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by:nobus
ID: 22855981
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Author Closing Comment

by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 31511925
Thanks for the help and info.  I wish I could've found what I wanted but it is nice to hope that someday it will all go away. :)
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by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 22957281
Thanks for all the help and info.  I am disappointed that it seems I can't do what I wanted but I am glad to have the confirmation it can't be done and some info on options.
bol
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