USB Manager, Manage USB Device Types

USB is currently the most popular way of connecting external devices to the computer. The majority of external storage devices, printers, scanners, audio devices with built in sound chips and other peripherals are connected via USB to the PC.

You sometimes may want to prevent that other people connect USB devices to your PC, for instance to avoid that they download data from the PC to external drives. Or, you might want to prevent users from using the connected USB printer whenever you are not on your computer.

While you could do that with Registry hacks and other means, it is usually a lot easier to use a program like USB Manager for that job. Keep in mind that disabling USB devices or device types is not a 100% protection against data theft, copying or printing of data.

USB Manager displays the four USB device types that it supports in its interface on program start. All four of them, that is storage devices, usb printers, USB audio devices and USB scanners, are enabled by default indicated by the green checkmark next to each symbol.

usbmanager

You can disable a specific device type, e.g. printers, with a click on the device icon in the program interface. You can alternatively use the program's system tray icon to enable or disable device types.

All it takes is a few clicks to disable or enable USB devices on the system. It is furthermore possible to set a program access password in the options to avoid that others enable devices again that you have disabled.

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The options are also the place to configure hotkeys, hide the system tray icon or configure the application to autostart with the Windows operating system.



USB Manager serves a specific purpose. Depending on the USB devices, you may notice that some are not disabled even though they should be. This was for instance the case with my Logitech G930 wireless headset which was not disabled when I disabled USB Audio using the software.

Windows users who would like to give it a try can download the software from the developer website. A commercial server client is available that can be used to control USB devices on remote computer systems.

Please note that the program offers to install an optional software package during installation. Make sure you click cancel here if you do not want to install several unrelated programs that may also make changes to your browser's default search engine and homepage.

Update: The audio headset has been disabled correctly after a reboot. Please also note that you need to run the program with elevated rights.

Update 2: The Makesoft website is returning a 404 not found error currently.It is not clear if technical difficulties are responsible, or if it has been abandoned. We have uploaded the latest version of USB Manager to our servers. Click on the following link to download it: [Download not found]

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Responses to USB Manager, Manage USB Device Types

  1. Gregg DesElms November 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Of course, we've all seen on TV and in movies the image of the secret spy type person sneaking into someone's office and finding their laptop or desktop computer, and then magically, in just seconds, copying everything important (somehow, the flash drive on TV always knows how to figure out what's important) off the machine! Of course, a far less exotic version of that really is possible...

    ...and so this app may have some utility... though, as the article correctly points out, it would be FAR from truly secure.

    In a way, it's sort of like a common household doorknob with keyed access. It tends to only keep out honest people...

    ...because, believe me, the crooks know how to pick the lock.

    Still, as apps of this type go, this one seems pretty nice. One must simply know its limitations.

    ______________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  2. Paul(us) November 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    This looks like a great program. But i have still some questions. which i could not find answers to on there website, about it:

    1.) Does dis program not only support USB 2.0 but also USB 3.0?
    2.) When I have given this program rights to communicate from main computer to main external hard disk does that automatically applies, that when somebody disconnect main hard disk and put his external hard disk in place that then the thief has the possibility to pump over main data from the drives who are inside main computer to his external hard disk? Or does the program only allows main (before named) external hard disk?

    • Martin Brinkmann November 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

      Paulus, it is my understanding that

      1) both are supported as far as I can tell
      2) all devices of a type are disabled regardless whether they are connected at the time the command is run or not.

  3. ParisMan November 27, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Has anyone used Netwrix usb blocker, MyusbOnly or any similar application and if so what are the results ?

    I for instance tried MyusbOnly and though it does what is claims to achieve, i hate the way it buries itself deep in the registry making it painful to uninstall; not to speak of the lousy customer support (despite legit license).

    @Gregg or any reader

    "…because, believe me, the crooks know how to pick the lock."

    Are you referring to this particular application or all those endpoints security type of applications (usb, removable devices ) in general.

    Can you please come forward with an example scenario to illustrate the limitations or to highlight the flaw within this layer of security implementation.

    In advance thanks for your input.

  4. Paul(us) November 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Hoi Martin, Raymond gives some great inside info about this program:
    http://www.raymond.cc/blog/archives/2011/11/28/disable-usb-storage-printer-audio-and-scanner-with-usb-manager/

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