Installing USB flash drives in Windows XP is pretty easy you don’t need to install any third party drivers. Just insert the USB flash drive to any USB ports and it will automatically install. You should see a small balloon at the tray bar that says found new hardware “USB Mass Storage Device”.
The installation should take a few seconds. Once you get the message “Your new hardware is installed and ready to use”, it means that it has completed installing the drivers and you can now see an extra drive letter in My Computer.
A while back I got a question from a member in forum asking me how to enable the USB port because whenever he plugs in a USB pen drive at his office computer, Windows will ask for the administrator username and password even though the user is set to auto login as administrator. At first I thought there were some registry or policy settings that needed changing, or even third party software that made Windows prompt for admin credentials when USB flash drive is inserted to a computer but it turns out that wasn’t the case after I went through this problem myself.
A Found New Hardware prompt appears with the message “You must be a member of the Administrators group on this computer to install this hardware: USB Disk Pro USB Device” whenever I plug in any USB pen drive to the computer logged on as User and NOT admin.
If I type in the administrator username and password, it is able to install the USB flash drive. But if I don’t type the correct administrator username and password or press the Cancel button, the USB flash drive won’t install and I will get the error message “You do not have sufficient security privileges to install hardware on this computer. Please contact your site administrator, or logout and log in again as an administrator and try again.”
And finally, there is a balloon confirmation from the system tray bar saying “A problem occurred during hardware installation. Your new hardware might not work properly.”
I have several methods suggested on forums and websites to try to fix this problem but none of it worked for me although obviously every situation is different. I will list them here in case you want to try and it might work for you. There are a few reasons why it doesn’t automatically install the USB mass storage drivers.
1. Corrupted drivers (usbstor.inf, usbstor.pnf, usbstor.sys)
A possible solution is to replace usbstor.inf and usbstor.pnf in C:\Windows\INF\ and usbstor.sys in C:\Windows\system32\drivers\ with a good one. If you do not have access to another copy of usbstor files, you can download all 3 latest latest files (usbstor.inf, usbstor.pnf, usbstor.sys) from here.
2. Users do not have permission to install drivers
Solution: Use this tool Allow Users to Install USB Jump Drives.
This tool will grant Users and Power Users the ability to install USB mass storage devices by setting permissions for the file usbstor.inf to modify, read and execute, read, write.
3. There is possible corruption in the Catroot2 folder causing Windows not to see the USB driver as signed
The best way to get round this is to rename the Catroot2 folder using these steps:
Go to Start -> Run, type cmd, and then press enter.
Type the following at the command prompt:
net stop cryptsvc
ren %systemroot%\System32\Catroot2 oldcatroot2
net start cryptsvc
Navigate to the following folder or type it into the Run box:
Remove all tmp*.cat files from the folder. Do not remove any other files in this folder other than those that start start with “tmp”. Also note it is the Catroot2 folder to rename and NOT Catroot which shouldn’t be renamed.
Microsoft also has a one of their Fixit tools which can fix a number of potential errors relating to this problem including solution a from below.
If the above solutions still don’t allow Users to install USB devices, it is quite possibly an unsigned drivers problem. You can use Windows own “File Signature Verification” to check if the drivers are signed or not. Go to Start -> Run, type sigverif and click OK. Click Advanced button and select “Look for other files that are not digitally signed“. Make sure the file type is *.* and the location to look for is C:\Windows. Also, check “Include subfolders” check box. Click OK and it will take a few minutes to scan.
Normally the amount of unsigned files displayed in Signature Verification Results should be less than 50. I ran a check on my Windows and found out that there’s 2288 unsigned files and with only 57 signed.
I had to do a Windows repair to fix the problem because it’s way too many unsigned files. After repair, I did a check again with sigverif and this time it showed 2344 signed files with only 17 unsigned files. I logged in as User, insert the USB flash drive and it can automatically install without prompting for login credentials. Before doing a Windows repair, there are other options that might be able to fix the unsigned driver files problem.
a) Make sure Cryptographic Services is running.
Go to Start -> Run, type services.msc and click OK. Look for Cryptographic Services and make sure that the status is “Started” and Startup Type is “Automatic“.
b) Ignore warnings to install drivers that has not passed Windows Logo testing.
Right click My Computer, select Properties. In System Properties, go to Hardware tab and click Driver Signing button. Select “Ignore – Install the software anyway and don’t ask for my approval“.
c) If all doesn’t work, your final choice is to reinstall or repair Windows. You can refer to this article on how to repair Windows.
There is another tool called Atsiv by Linchpin Labs which is allows the user to load and unload signed or unsigned drivers on 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows XP, Windows 2K3 and Windows Vista. However, they’ve removed it from their site because Microsoft has claimed that it is a Malware. I’ve tried to load usbstor.sys with Atsiv, but still unable to install USB flash drive without administrators account.