Turn Off Auto Play on CD/DVD Drives and USB Storage in Windows XP and Windows7

Almost all versions of Windows operating system have a built in feature to automatically detect external storage e.g CD drives, DVD drives, removable USB storage or an external hard drive. Whenever you plug in a removable device, Windows starts scanning its files and pops in an autoplay dialog box.

The auto play dialog box in Windows shows you a list of options for actions you can take on the files that are stored in the removable storage device. If it’s an audio DVD, the auto play dialog box will provide an option “Play all media from this DVD”, which is sometimes very useful.

However, a lot of users find the autoplay options really annoying. Whenever you insert a CD, thumb drive or a DVD, Windows starts the auto play options which you may want to permanently turn off.

In this article, we will show you some simple steps using which you can disable autoplay options in Windows7 and Windows XP. After you turn off autoplay in Windows, you have to manually open the removable storage location and use the content thats stored there.

Turn off Autoplay Of CD/DVD and USB Drives in Windows XP

1. From the start Menu go to Run and type “regedit” to open Windows registry editor.

2. Select administrative templates in the left Pane. Under administrative templates, select system.

3. On the right pane, look for an option labelled “Turn off Autoplay”. Double click the option to enable it.

Turn off autoplay in Windows XP

Disable Autoplaying of USB drives in Windows XP

4. You can select only CD ROM drive or all drives.Then click ok.

Disabling autoplay for all drives will turn off autoplay for USB devices, external hard drives and other storage devices – your digital camera for example. If in any case you want to re enable the auto play features for a p[articular drive, follow the above method and choose “Disabled” in “turn off autoplay properties” settings panel.

Disable Autorun Feature In Windows 7

The steps to disable auorun in Windows7 is exactly the same as in Windows XP but in case you need the step by step instructions, we thought it would be wise to post it anyway. Here goes:

1. Click the Windows 7 start menu and type “gpedit.msc” in the search box. Then click gpedit in the search results pane to open the local group policy editor

2. On the left hand pane of local group policy editor, navigate to Administrative templates . Windows components . Autoplay policies and look for the option “Turn off autoplay” in the right paneDisable autoplay of USB drives in Windows7

3. Click enable and choose OK. That’s it, you have just disabled autoplay option in Windows7. Now Windows wont bother you with the autoplay dialog box whenever you insert a USB thumb drive, a CD or a DVD.

Why You Should Disable Autoplaying CD’s And Pen Drives

Personally I would recommend that you permanently turn off autoplay for all external devices because its always better to have the control in your fingers. Autorun commands are stored in an autorun.inf file which can be used to start an application, run a system command or even a batch file. Generally, these commands do no harm to your system but there are situations when the autorun.inf file can be modified and used otherwise. let me share an example case.

Let’s say one of your friends wants to have some fun with you, so he gave you a movie in a removable drive and told you to copy the video on your computer. Feeling excited, you plug in the USB device on your computer and find that your computer has stopped responding. Thinking that there might be a problem in the USB storage device, you plug it out but find that Windows is not responding as earlier before. You reboot Windows but find that the system fails to boot because an internal system file is missing.

What went wrong here?

The USB drive had a trojan in it and your friend has intentionally modified the autorun.inf file to run the trojan on your system. Hence, the moment you plugged in the USB drive, the autoplay feature was triggered which harmed your computer.

Accidents like these can happen anytime so we suggest you to disable Windows from autoplaying the contents of any removable drive, USB drive, CD or DVD and make your system more secure.

Also read: 3 ways to Prevent USB Drives from Auto running Programs

Amit Banerjee is the founding editor and owner of Ampercent. He is a die hard technology enthusiast and writes about all things technology, How to guides, tutorials and search engines. Follow him on Twitter, read his personal blog or drop him an email.