What Happened to AutoRun?


What Happened to AutoRun?

Ask the Doctor LogoI am using Windows 7 Home Premium and I have found that there is no longer an AutoRun option that permits the automatic startup of USB flash drives that contain software. I am particularly referring to flash drives that contain portable operating systems such as Portable Apps or SanDisk U3 Launchpad. The user is now presented with a prompt that permits viewing the files and double-clicking the application to be executed.

Is there a registry hack that I can use to restore the AutoRun feature for USB flash drives that contain applications?

—Bob Blum

Bob, Microsoft disabled AutoRun (as opposed to AutoPlay, which still works) on non-optical removable media for Windows 7 for security reasons. According to Microsoft’s Security Research & Defense blog, the incidence rate of Conficker and other malware that spreads via AutoRun has been increasing rapidly, so as a security precaution AutoRun is only enabled on optical removable media. We’ve seen various registry hacks touted as being able to re-enable AutoRun, but none seem to work very well. And we tend to agree with Microsoft on this one. We’ve had friends and relatives with computers brought low by autorunning malware spread via USB. In fact, some Maximum PC editors disable AutoPlay (and not just AutoRun) on every machine they use. This can cause trouble with some CD- and DVD-burning software, though, so do it at your own risk.


SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.




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