Disable AutoRun and AutoPlay in Windows XP

AutoRun and AutoPlay are Windows features that enable the automatic execution of specified programs when a removable medium, such as a USB flash drive, is attached to the computer. These two features are a common vector of installing unwanted malicious software, so it always advised to disable them in order to enhance the system’s security. You will find below the necessary steps that are required in order to disable these features under Windows XP

  1. As described in Microsoft’s knowledge base article 967715, download and install the Update for Windows XP (KB967715).
  2. Copy and paste the following registry information into a text editor and save the file as fix.reg:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer]
    "NoDriveTypeAutoRun"=dword:000000ff
    
  3. Double click the file fix.reg in order to add the changes into the Windows registry.
  4. A restart may be necessary in order for the changes to take effect.

If you want to test the effectiveness of the above mentioned procedure you can create a new file named autorun.inf and place it under the root directory of a USB flash drive. Then you can use this specific USB flash drive in order to assess if the AutoRun and AutoPlay features are disabled. The contents of the autorun.inf file should be the following:

[autorun]
open=c:\windows\system32\calc.exe
action=Autoplay action (hijacked)
shell=open
shell\open\command=c:\windows\system32\calc.exe
shell\open=Open (hijacked)
shell\explore\command=c:\windows\system32\calc.exe
shell\explore=Explore (hijacked)

In order to test the computer’s security measures apply the following procedure:

  1. Insert the USB flash drive.
  2. Check that the Windows calculator does not appear.
  3. If an AutoPlay window appears check that there is no action named “Autoplay action (hijacked)”.
  4. Open My Computer.
  5. Double click the USB flash drive’s icon.
  6. Check that the Windows calculator does not appear.
  7. Reopen My Computer.
  8. Right click the USB flash drive’s icon.
  9. Check that there are no menu items named “Open (hijacked)” or “Explore (hijacked)”.

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