Understanding The autorun file

The Autorun.inf File:

Autorun.inf is the primary instruction file associated with the Autorun function. Its is a simple text-based configuration file that tells the operating system which file is to be executed, which icon to use. It tells windows/Unix based systems that what program has to be executed after insertion of CD/DVD/USB drive. It also executes the program when we Open/Explore/ (or by performing the specified task written in the file).
The entire sequence is initiated when the "disk change notification" polling discovers a new disk in the CD or DVD ROM drive. Then, if the "Auto insert notification" feature is enabled (it is by default), Windows checks in the new disk's root directory for the existence of an "autorun.inf" file. If found, Windows then reads and follows the specific instructions this file defines. If no autorun.inf file is found, then Windows refers to the new disk by its serial number and executes the default actions associated with the (data or audio) content on the disk.

You can disable Auto-execution of CDs/DVDs from gpedit.msc file. We will discuss later.
The Autorun.inf file defines the following:

  • The process or application that will automatically run when a disk is inserted.

  • Optionally, we can define the process that will run for specific Operating environments.

  • The icon that will represent your application's CD or DVD when the drive is viewed with My Computer or Explorer.(for eg. sometimes your USB drive's icon displays as like Default Folder icon)

  • Menu commands displayed when the user right-clicks the CD-ROM icon from My Computer or Explorer.

  • Changes Default menu command operations like changing the value of Open, Explore.

File extensions for various Platforms:

    Autorun.inf        :        Windows os
    Autorun.mips        :        Mips Machine
    Autorun.alpha    :        DEC Alphamachine
    Autorun.ppc        :        Power p.c.

Autorun.inf File Structure:
    The autorun.inf file is a simple text file that can be opened up in any text editor (e.g. notepad). It always starts with a section header of:
    Bellow this header one can specify list of various operations with following syntax-
        where     option = option that you want to set
            value = it's the value/comment that you are setting with the options
    for example:

  • Associating a program :

  • Setting the autoplay option :
    Autoplay is a function of XP and higher windows version. It tells the operating system what file will run when you insert CD/DVD/USB Drive. It shows a autoplay menu on the screen.
    If you want to add new autoplay option in the menu as "HELLO open this file " and this will execute hello.bat file then write this to your Autorun.inf file-
            action=Hello open this file

  • Adding Context menu items:
    There some basic operations in context menu (displays a menu list when you right click on the dive) like Open, Explore etc. if you want add your own then simply do these things-
    First you need to create an action give it name and what will it do when you click on it. all of these work is done by shell/verb option. For eg.-
            shell/Hello=Open Hello file
    This will create a new menu named "Hello" in the context menu displaying message "Open Hello file". Now set an operation on this menu-

  • Changing the default action:
    When you double click on any drive this will by default opens the drive. If you want to change the default option by your own command or existing list of commands do this with shell option.

  • Viewing a file instead of program execution:
    If you want to display a file / link to a web address than do this


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