If you are a business, public venue, or even a normal user concerned with the illegitimate copying or transfer of files or data from your computer(s) via USB or CD, then this program is for you.
‘URC Access Modes’ is a FREE program that will allow you to shut off and password protect USB and CD access on any machine that you have administrator access to.
If you would like your PC to be able to read from USB drives but not write onto them, “URC Access Modes” can do that by setting USB access to read only. It can also switch off RegEdit, preventing any user from going into and editing the registry illegitimately.
How to use:
Usage is simplicity itself. Install the the program and run it as administrator. The options in the main screen (pictured above) are all self explanatory. One thing to keep in mind: remember your password. If you forget it, the only way to recover it may be for you to contact the developer of the program and plead your case.
The program works really well and does exactly what is promised. We booted into safe mode and found that the settings still hold, and the interface is very straightforward.
But the program can be improved. I sent this to someone in a business who really does need to protect access to their computers, and got this feedback: “I think it is a Windows feature for which they made a friendly interface. What would be nice if they had a master password and then separate passwords for the other functions that are either time limited and/or can be changed so you can give someone the flash read-only password for short term access and after that you won’t have to change it again and remember a new password.”
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will keep on developing it and taking it further. As it is though, a very nice program if you need it.
Did you test this program? Do you know of other programs that provide this function? Let us know in the comments section.
[Update Feb 2, 2013]. This program is more powerful than I originally thought. In an interchange with the developer of this program. He pointed out that most other USB-restricting programs can be worked around simply by manually re-enabling USB write access via a registry tweak (or using some 3rd party software). It would require that a user be sophisticated enough to do so, but it is possible. Not so with ‘URC Access Modes’, which will not accept any such workaround, and which can only be reversed by using your password (or re installing Windows).
[Update May 11, 2013]. URC Access Modes is now in version 2
It now includes a larger set of tools: USB Tool & CD/DVD Tool, Registry(regedit.exe) Tool, Command Prompt(cmd.exe) Tool, Group Policy Tool(gpedit.msc) and Task Manager Tool(taskmgr.exe).
- USB & CD Tools: can disable USB Mass Storage Devices such as Pen Drives , Hard Disk etc, without disabling peripheral devices such as your USB Mouse, Keyboard, Webcam etc. Protects from data theft and virusus.
- Registry & Command Prompt Tools: protect from unauthorized code execution via disabling the command prompt and registry. Also the URC ACCESS MODES password is stored in the registry hence disabling it will protect the program from being circumvented.
- Group Policy & Task Manager Tools: many important system settings are protected since many of these are in the Group Policy. Also important processes cannot be shut down from the task manger.