Disable AutoRun/AutoPlay

Disabling AutoRun, also known as AutoPlay, when you insert removable media like an USB drive or a CD or DVD is almost essential when you are working with many devices connected to the same system at once. When using the USB duplicator, it's common to connect large numbers of USB drives to a computer. When connecting 50 or more USB drives to a computer, all those automatic popup windows become an annoyance, and also waste system resources when reading all the connected file systems.

AutoRun and security

AutoRun, while user friendly, can also be a security hazard. Some types of malware distribute themselves by setting up autorun programs on USB drives or flash cards. If you connect a device to an infected system, the necessary files are copied to the device without user interaction, and when this device is connected to a new computer with autorun, the malware infects that system too.

Disabling AutoRun on Mac, Windows and Linux

Different operating systems, such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux based distributions such as Debian and Ubuntu usually have very different ways to handle system configuration such as this. We'll show you how to disable autorun on all these systems.

Disable AutoRun on WIndows

Microsoft has written a detailed description of how to disable the autorun feature on Windows systems. It describes the registry keys involved, and outlines several methods to disable autorun on different versions of Windows. There is also a link to Microsoft Fix it 50471 available, which is a program that will disable autorun on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP.

Disable AutoRun on Ubuntu Linux

To disable autorun on Ubuntu Linux, follow these steps:

  1. Run "gconf-editor" from the terminal
  2. Open /apps/nautilus/preferences
  3. Find "media_automount_open", and uncheck it
  4. You may also want to check "media_autorun_never"
  5. Close gconf-editor (there is no save button)

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS:

Disable autorun on Ubuntu Linux

Disable AutoRun on Mac OS X

Autorun is not a feature of Mac OS X, so no action is required on Mac OS X.

 

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