How to disable the AutoPlay function in Microsoft Windows operating system

AutoPlay function

AutoPlay function is one of the integral part of Windows operating system. Whenever you insert some sort of physical disc or plug USB device to the computer, AutoPlay hits and ask you what kind of action you want to perform.

Whilst useful for some users, it can be greatly annoying for others and since the function is enabled by default some users might wonder how to turn off this function completely.

This small article covers the basics of AutoPlay and shows users how to disable it through Windows Control panels, together with some tips and information about this subject.

AutoPlay and AutoRun

First and foremost, let's not confuse AutoPlay and AutoRun. AutoPlay is the function that launches windows like the one shown below and ask the user what he want to do, including the Autorun option.

Autorun on the other hand is a function that performs certain pre-selected action, like launching setup whenever you insert an installation disc to your CD/DVD drive.

AutoPlay function in Windows

For our example, we have just inserted a blank disc to trigger the AutoPlay function. If a USB flash with photos is plugged-in, it would offer another selection of actions users can perform.

These windows might look different in different versions of Windows (our screenshot is from Windows 8 for example), but the functions are same since Windows XP and pretty much nothing has changed.

How to disable or change AutoPlay function

Certain actions for AutoPlay are set as default in Windows and can be changed by the user the whenever a new choice is made when AutoPlay triggers.

For example AutoPlay might ask you what media player you want to use when a DVD is inserted, or which digital photo editor shall be used when SD card is inserted and such.

Disabling AutoPlay function in Windows

Some users find these AutoPlay windows annoying and want to turn them off completely. This can be done simply via control panels.

Start → Control Panel → All Control Panels → AutoPlay

Windows Control Panel
Windows 8 All Control Panel selection

By default the "Use AutoPlay for all media and devices" is enabled. Simply disable the checkbox, and after next computer restart the AutoPlay function will be disabled.

Control Panel AutoPlay Option
Windows 8 AutoPlay control panel

Changing AutoPlay function

Instead of disabling the AutoPlay function completely, you might want to customize it to your needs. You can select a certain action that is performed whenever media or device is connected to the computer. Something like automatically open certain media player for music, a graphic editors for photos etc.

Related software and links:

Microsoft Windows icon

Microsoft Windows    Microsoft Windows platform
A series of operating systems developed by Microsoft

Microsoft Windows 10 icon

Microsoft Windows 10    Microsoft Windows platform
Operating system for deskop, laptop and tablet computers

Microsoft Windows 8 icon

Microsoft Windows 8    Microsoft Windows platform
First operating system from Windows family designed with touchscreens in mind

Microsoft Windows Vista icon

Microsoft Windows Vista    Microsoft Windows platform
One of the members of Windows operating system family

Microsoft Windows XP Professional icon

Microsoft Windows XP Professional    Microsoft Windows platform
One of the most successful members of Windows operating system family


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