Understanding and Changing AutoPlay Settings

by Barry Dysert
(last updated January 12, 2015)

AutoPlay is a feature of Windows that lets you indicate what you want your system to do (if anything) whenever certain types of media are inserted into your computer. To configure your AutoPlay settings, display the Control Panel, click the Hardware and Sound link, and then click the AutoPlay link. Windows displays the AutoPlay dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The AutoPlay dialog box.

It is the AutoPlay dialog box where you indicate the behavior your system should perform when it detects the presence of the various listed media. For example, if I insert an audio CD into my machine, it automatically starts playing it with Windows Media Player. However, if I insert a CD that contains pictures, the system asks me what to do.

You tell your system what to do by pulling down the drop-down list beside each type of media and selecting a default behavior. For example, if I want to open a folder in Windows Explorer (Windows 7) or File Explorer (Windows 8) every time a picture CD is inserted, I would pull down the drop-down list beside the Pictures item and select the behavior. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Selecting an AutoPlay action.

To turn off AutoPlay altogether, clear the checkbox near the top of the AutoPlay dialog box. When you are done making the desired changes, click the Save button.

 This tip (10111) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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