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Enabling And Disabling AutoPlay In Windows XP

Chad Sweely
Expert Author
Published: 2011-03-17

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One of the unique and interesting features for external media in Windows XP is the feature of AutoPlay. These features in Windows XP allow the user to automatically run a specific program or event whenever they insert or load a specific device into your computer, such as a CD-ROM disk, or a USB jump drive.

By default, whenever a user loads an external media device or disk into their computer while Windows XP is currently running, a pop-up window will appear with various options asking the user how they would like to interact with the disk or device that they have just loaded. Some of the common choices that the user is presented with are provided below:

  • Open the files on the disk/device in Windows Explorer.
  • If the media is a music CD, play the CD in Windows Media Play (and/or iTunes if it is installed).
  • Burn a copy of the files on the disk/device using Windows Explorer (and/or other third-party CD burning software, such as Nero).
  • If the media contains image files, view the images in a slideshow.
  • If you do not to interact with the media at this time, take no action.

If you are using a specific media on a regular basis, you can enable Windows XP to automatically execute a specific task from the list above, and avoid the prompt that asks you the different ways that you would like to interact with the media in question. To do this, whenever you are prompted with the window listing the options above, check the "Always do the selected action" option that is below the list of options, and then press "OK." This will let Windows XP know to automatically perform the specific task the next time that you insert the specific media into your computer.

After a period of time, you may not want to have Windows XP automatically perform the task you have chosen anymore. With this in mind, I have provided a procedure below that will allow you to restore your Windows XP session back to asking you the various options listed above:

  1. Make sure that you have the specific media (e.g. CD-ROM disk/USB jump drive) inserted into and running on your computer.
  2. Click on My Computer from the Start menu to display all of the drives currently connected to your computer.
  3. Right click on the drive that includes your media mentioned in Step #1 and click on the Properties menu option.
  4. From the drive's Properties window, select the AutoPlay tab, which will display the various AutoPlay and AutoRun options associated with the current drive.
  5. Under the Actions section of the AutoPlay tab, select the "Prompt me each time to choose an action" option, and then press "OK."

After you have performed the steps listed above, the next time that you insert the specific media, Windows will prompt you for an action that you would like to take.

View All Articles by Chad Sweely

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About the Author:
Chad Sweely is a staff wrtiter and Flash Designer for FlashNewz.

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