How to Disable External Devices in Windows 10

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If you are having problems with an external device, you can use these steps to disable it instead of disconnecting it from a Windows 10 PC.

Under Windows 10, there are many reasons to turn off a device. For example, if the built-in Bluetooth adapter does not work as expected and you can replace it with an external adapter, if you have problems with a particular device and turn it off and on can solve the problem, or if you do not use the device or hardware and cannot physically disconnect it from your computer, to name a few cases.

For any reason, you can use the Device Manager to quickly disable or enable any device (such as Bluetooth and network adapters, keyboard, printer and webcams) that is connected to your computer.

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Disabling devices from the Device Manager

Note: To use the Device Manager, you must have administrator rights on the computer.

Use your keyboard to press Windows + R to open the Run window.
Under'Open', type devmgmt.msc and click on'OK'.

You must now find the device in the list – finding the right device is critical because disabling a critical device could damage your Windows installation. Imaging devices’ include all cameras,’Sound, video and game controllers’ include your audio devices.
Expand the device group, right-click on the device and select ‘Disable’.
Click OK to confirm.
The device is now disabled – Windows and applications can no longer use the device.
To reactivate it, repeat the operation and select “Activate”.

Disable/restrict access to devices by the Group Policy Editor

Suppose you want to prevent users from connecting to a USB storage device connected to a computer running Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000. This article describes two methods you can use to do this.

Step 1: Open the local group policy editor in Windows 10 by running gpedit.msc in the Run (Win + R) dialog box.

Step 2: Expand Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System and select Access to removable media. In the right pane, search for”Removable disks”: Deny access”,”Removable disks”: Deny read access” and”Removable media”: Deny write access”. Double-click on each of them to configure it.

Step 3: Select On, then click Apply, then click OK. This disables execution, reading and writing on all removable disks, including USB storage devices connected to the computer. If you want to enable the use of USB storage devices, set them to”Not configured” or”Disabled”.

Disabling or enabling USB ports in the BIOS

Some manufacturers offer the ability to disable or enable USB ports in the BIOS/UEFI. Boot into the BIOS/UEFI and check if there is an option to disable or enable the USB ports. Check your PC’s user manual to see if there is an option in the BIOS/UEFI to enable or disable USB ports.

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