To install software on your system these days it’s usually a matter of downloading it. But if you’ve been using Windows for any length of time, you know about installing software from external sources like CDs, DVDs, or even floppy disks. If you have a shared computer, you might want to prevent people from installing extra software. Here’s how to do it using Group Policy Editor or tweaking the Registry.
Prevent Software Installation from External Sources
Note: This first method requires making a change to Local Group Policy which isn’t accessible in Home versions of Windows.
Hit Windows Key + R on your computer and type: gpedit.msc in the run dialog box and hit Enter.
Then browse to the following location in Local Group Policy Editor:
User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Installer
Then double click on the Prevent removable media source for any installation entry on the right.
Click Enabled then click on OK at the bottom to save the change. Then reboot your system.
Using Registry Editor
If you have a Home version of Windows you can get the same results by making a change in the Registry.
Note: Before making changes to the Registry, always back it up first!
Hit Windows Key + R and type: regedit and hit Enter or click OK.
Navigate to the following key. If you don’t see it, like in Windows 7 Home Premium for example, you’ll need to manually add the key and value.
In the right pane double click on DisableMedia and change the DWORD value from 0 (zero) to 1 (one). Close out of Registry Editor and reboot the computer for changes to take affect.
That’s all there is to it. If you own a business it’s easy to block installation of software through enterprise software like WebSense, but your employees will try to find ways around it, like bringing software from home. This provides a deterrent, and will help keep their workstations clean of time wasting apps and possible malware.