USB: Driver installation vs. no admin privileges

  • Thread starter Christoph Aumayer
  • Start date

Christoph Aumayer


we use WinXP SP2 and Win2003 Domain Controllers.

I am seaching a way to grant standard users of the "Users" group the right
to install USB devices such as memory sticks, mice, removable HDs, etc. As
long as the user has no admin rights a pop-up appears telling me to run the
(automatic) driver installation for the USB device with admin rights. But I
need a way to allow users without admin privileges to use any USB devices...

I know there must be a way as at a former employer where I was a standard
user I could use any USB devices (after the driver has been installed


Steven L Umbach

The problem may be with the USB device manufacturer. If the device can do a
server side install then it will work but if it is a client install it will
prompt for admin credentials. The link below explains more.


Normally in Windows 2000/XP only administrators have sufficient rights to
install new hardware on a machine, but PnP provides a way around that in
some cases. This is because there are two ways in which PnP can install new
hardware: server- or client-side installation.

Server-side installation is when you connect a PnP device to your computer
and it detects the device and automatically installs it without any user
intervention. This kind of installation is performed using SYSTEM
credentials and usually happens when the driver (.inf file) for your device
was shipped with your version of Windows or if a similar device was
previously installed on your machine. The PnP Manager handles everything and
the whole process happens in SYSTEM context.

Client-side installation is when you connect a PnP device to your computer
and it detects the device but can't find an .inf file suitable for the
device or finds an .inf file but it's not digitally signed. At this point
installation switches to user mode and the Found New Hardware Wizard prompts
you for administrator credentials to complete the installation.

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