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Managing USB Thumb Drives – Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

From an e-discovery perspective, tracking and managing all these potential sources of responsive information is a nightmare. Brad Carlson of Fios, Inc. outlines a helpful process in his article, “Collecting Personal Data for E-Discovery” in Computer Technology Review (you can read it here: http://www.wwpi.com/fall-2007/2794-collecting-personal-data-for-e-discovery).

There’s a better way to manage USB devices in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. There’s a new set of Group Policy Objects (GPOs)  specifically for managing USB devices. If you’re not familiar with Group Policy, here’s a one sentence description: it lets administrators turn off certain features of Windows in a way that users can’t turn them back on.

More infoGroup Policy center

TechNet Magazine has an article that explains how to use Group Policy to control which USB devices (if any) can connect to the USB ports of Vista machines. The article was written from a security perspective, but it’s easy to see how it applies to e-discovery. “Security: Managing Hardware Restrictions via Group Policy

The controls are quite granular. In a more in-depth article on MSDN,  you can learn how to “authorize” USB connections down to the individual device manufacturer’s make and model.  The article is “Step by Step Guide to Controlling Device Installation Using Group Policy”.

Source:→ TechNet Blogs

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