How to Enable USB Mass Storage Devices

By Alan Temple

Many mass storage devices can be connected to your computer via the USB port.
i USB image by Ewe Degiampietro from

Most USB mass storage devices are exceedingly easy to use; you can slot them into the USB port on your computer and you can start dragging files into them via the icon that appears in "My Computer." Unfortunately if the storage drivers have previously been disabled, it will not be so easy to access the device; this is the most common reason for not being able to use a mass storage device. To enable the device, you will have to edit a value in your system registry.

Click on "Start" or the Windows button. Click on "Run" and type "regedit" into the "Run" dialog box to launch the system registry from your computer, where you will be able to enable a storage device.

Click on the small triangle beside "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" to expand that topic, you will now see "System"; click on the small triangle beside that to expand on that topic.

Keep expanding on topics until you reach "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\USBSTOR" in the left panel. Folders including "BootFlags" and "DisplayNames" should be visible in the right panel.

Double-click the "Start" file in the right panel. Change "Value" to "3" (without quotes) and click "OK" to finish enabling the USB mass storage drivers.

Click on "File" and then "Save" at the top left side of the registry editor.