Hiding Drive Letters from New Users

I want to configure some systems so that certain drive letters are hidden from view. For example, I want to hide drives A, B, and C from the standard user. Is this possible?

You can use three methods to hide drives and all involve editing the registry—make sure you back up your registry before attempting any of these approaches. The first method is to add the NoDrive entry of type REG_DWORD to the registry. Open a registry editor, then navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer registry subkey. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value, then type the name NoDrive. The values for this data type range from 0x0 (the default setting), which disables the value and displays all drives, to 0x3FFFFFF, which hides all system drives (i.e., A through Z). Other values include

  • 0x3—hides drives A and B
  • 0x4—hides drive C
  • 0x7—hides drives A, B, and C
  • 0x8—hides drive D
  • 0xF—hides drives A, B, C, and D

Be aware that this option simply hides the drive icons in My Computer and Windows Explorer—users can still use a command window to display the drives' contents.

The second method is to add the NoViewOnDrive entry of type REG_DWORD to the same registry location as in the first method (i.e., the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer registry subkey). This entry uses the same registry values as the NoDrive entry. However, unlike the NoDrive entry, the user can see the drive letters in My Computer but clicking a drive letter results in a message that states the drive can't be accessed at that time. Be aware that users can still use Windows NT 4.0 File Manager to see what information resides on the drives.

The third method restricts users from mapping network drives on their computer. You navigate to the same registry location as in the other two methods and add the NoNetConnectDisconnect entry of type REG_DWORD. Set this registry entry to 0 to disable or 1 to enable the setting. A value of 1 removes the Map Network Drive and Disconnect Network Drive commands from the Tools menu in Windows Explorer and My Network Places and from the menus that appear when you right-click the Windows Explorer or My Network Places icons. A 1 value also removes the Add Network Place command from My Network Places.

The above three methods are the only ones I use to hide drives. More experienced users who are familiar with earlier Windows versions will have no problem bypassing the commands. However, these methods are still useful for hiding drives from users who might not be as familiar with command windows and command-line syntax.

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