Pen drives are very common these days. Everybody has them for their daily data transfer needs and since these are connected to different computers very often, they become a easy carrier of malicious codes (virus, trojans, spywares etc).
How viruses spread from USB/Thumb/Pen drive?
Whenever a USB drive is plugged into a infected computer, virus copies itself to the pen drive and sets it to execute itself when pen drive is accessed by making changes in the autorun.inf. Whenever pen drive is accessed, the autorun.inf calls the executable file of the virus upon which the system gets infected.
How to save your computer from viruses from USB/Thumb/Pen drive?
The most effective method of preventing your system from getting infected is to disable autorun feature of USB devices. DJ tells us about disabling autorun feature on Sizlopedia. He tells us a method in which he uses gpedit.msc and disable autorun feature but the problem is that gpedit.msc is not available under Windows XP Home Edition.
So, I am going to explain how to disable USB autorun feature through registry editing which not only works for WinXP Home but also for any other edition of Windows.
UPDATE : There is a tool for vaccinating against autorun feature too. You better use it. It works far much better than this registry hack.
- Browse to the following key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
- Modify the value of NoDriveTypeAutoRun to ff (hexadecimal)
Although I must warn you that playing with the registry can be harmful for your system and you might end up re-installing your OS. Before making any changes, I recommend reading How to backup your registry?
And if you don't want to edit the registry then you can download this registry entry.
Right Click > Save it on your computer > Run it on your computer.
Press Yes when it asks for confirmation for adding the entry into the registry.
This will now prevent any virus from auto executing itself through a USB drive. In addition to this, you must have a good anti virus installed on the system as this method just stops the virus from infecting the system automatically.