Windows 7 Registry Tweaks

Windows 7 AutoPlay Enable | Disable

Windows 7 AutoPlay Enable | Disable Settings AutoPlay Windows 7 Enable

The Windows 7 AutoPlay helps you to select which program plays your music, or displays your photos.  Sometimes AutoPlay seems to have a mind of it's own, you can regain the upper hand by enabling or disabling the settings in the Control Panel.

Topics for Windows 7 AutoPlay Enable | Disable

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How To Configure Windows 7 AutoPlay From the Control Panel

There is an individual AutoPlay enable / disable setting for every type of Windows 7 media or device.  Here is where you configure the default settings for each media.

Click on the Windows 7 Start 'Orb', Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, AutoPlay.

Quick and Easy - Turn Off AutoPlay

AutoPlay Windows 7 Disable

Take the tick out of 'Use AutoPlay for all media and devices'.

More Subtle AutoPlay Configuration

Popular options to enable AutoPlay are:
Play xyz using ....
Take no action.

AutoPlay Windows 7 Disable

It is worth scrolling down the list in your Control Panel just to see the sheer scale of the media that you can enable or disable for AutoPlay.  There are at least 4 options for each type of media.  When you have finished you can either save, or else reset the defaults. 

Note: The Windows 7 AutoPlay setting is in the Hardware and Sound folder, this is a slightly different location from XP.

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Troubleshooting AutoPlay Using Group Policy EditorAutoPlay Group Policy  Editor Gpedit.msc

For times when changing the above AutoPlay settings has no effect, turn next to either gpedit.msc or regedit.

To open the Local Group Policy Editor click on the Start Orb, type: gpedit.msc (remember the .msc extension).

Navigate to:AutoPlay Group Policy Windows 7
Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates /
Windows Components / AutoPlay Policies

Edit: Turn off AutoPlay -->  Disabled.

After that you can reset it to Not Configured, which is the default state.

Troubleshooting AutoPlay Using Regedit

Group Policy Editor is not supplied with Windows Home editions, however, you can use regedit to achieve the same result.

Open regedit and locate the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

Change:  NoDriveTypeAutorun to 0x91

If necessary create this key as a DWORD.

What Are AutoPlay and AutorunAutorun Windows 7

Autorun is special pre-cursor of AutoPlay for the CD-ROM drive.  Let us start by considering the operating system's reaction when you put a DVD in the caddy.  Manufacturers include an autorun.inf file to specify their idea of what should autostart when you close the caddy.

Unlike other AutoPlay media, the CD-ROM has extra hardware considerations which are dealt with by Autorun.  AutoPlay helps choose which application autorun should report to.  In the case of a music CD, which program should take over from autorun and start playing the music.  Alternatively, you can configure Autorun to do nothing.

Here is the registry setting to check, or to turn off Autorun:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\cdrom

A value of 1 means enable autorun (on), while zero means disable autorun. 

Note 1: Make sure that you are in the CurrentControlSet, not ControlSet001.

Note 2: There is also an autorun setting for the floppy disk.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\sfloppy

Note 3: Incidentally, the Shift key no longer overrides AutoPlay as it did in XP.

AutoPlay, MCN and CD-ROM

Media Change Notification (MCN) messages from the CD-ROM driver, trigger the AutoPlay behaviour of the CD / DVD.  However, if we suppress these messages then the CD will not automatically start playing.  You can disable AutoPlay by configuring the appropriate value of NoDriveTypeAutoRun or NoDriveAutoRun in the registry, this is an alternative to the Control Panel method described above.

The benefit of using NoDriveTypeAutoRun, rather than NoDriveAutoRun, is that you can select which drives you wish to disable.  For example, you can allow only CD-ROM drives to run AutoPlay.

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Registry Values for NoDriveTypeAutoRun

Here below, is a table of the hex values to control AutoPlay on a variety of drives.  The entries are a bitmapped value. To disable Windows 7 AutoPlay on a particular type of drive, set the bit representing that type of drive to 1.  If you want to disable more than one type of drive, sum the hexadecimal values of the representative bits.

In Windows 7, the default value for NoDriveTypeAutoRun is 0x91 (145).  You calculate the figure by summing: 0x1 (unknown types), 0x80 (unknown types) and 0x10 (network drives).  In Vista the default is 0x95 (149), the extra 4 is accounted for by the disable floppy drive setting.

0x1

Disables AutoPlay on drives of unknown type.

0x4

Disables AutoPlay on removable drives.

0x8

Disables AutoPlay on fixed drives.

0x10

Disables AutoPlay on network drives.

0x20

Disables AutoPlay on CD-ROM drives.

0x40

Disables AutoPlay on RAM drives.

0x80

Disables AutoPlay on drives of unknown type.

0xFF

Disables AutoPlay on all types of drives.

Registry Instructions for NoDriveTypeAutoRun

One feature of NoDriveTypeAutoRun in Windows 7 is that you set the value in the Current_User section of the registry.

  1. Type 'regedit' in the Start Search dialog box. (See more details on starting regedit)
  2. Navigate to this path:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
  3. If necessary create a dword called NoDriveTypeAutoRunNoDriveTypeAutoRun Control Autoplay with registry setting
  4. Set NoDriveTypeAutoRun = 000000FF 
  5. A value of 000000FF (decimal 255) would disable AutoRun on all drives.
  6. A better strategy is to the above table, and use a Hexadecimal calculator to compute the most suitable value for your machine.
  7. There is no need to logoff; the NoDriveTypeAutoRun setting should take effect straightaway.

Key Learning Points

  • Do you find the NoDriveTypeAutoRun value in HKCU** or HKLM? 
    Answer: HKCU! If there is a conflict then HKLM wins.
  • Should you add a value, or modify an existing setting? 
    Answer: In Windows 7 modify to a hex value = 000000FF.  Consult the above table for greater precision.
    Answer: In XP or W2K3 you may need to create a DWORD called: NoDriveTypeAutoRun.  Then set it a hex value of 000000FF  (Decimal 255)
  • Is NoDriveTypeAutoRun a String Value or a DWORD? 
    Answer: DWORD.
  • Do you need to Restart, or merely Log Off / On? 
    Answer: Neither, changes to AutoPlay should occur as soon as you enter the value in the registry.
  • Tip: Add this Value, NoDriveTypeAutoRun to Regedit's Favorites menu

** HKLM is an abbreviation of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, and HKCU is shorthand for HKEY_CURRENT_USER.  These acronyms are so well-known that you can even use them in .reg files, Vista will understand and obey the registry instruction.

Make the CD-ROM Available Only to Users Who are Logged on Locally

Local Group Policy Editor Method
You can use GPEDIT.msc to restrict the CD-ROM access to locally logged-on user only.  Once you launch Gpedit.msc, navigate to this section of the Local Group Policy Editor:

Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Local Policies, Security Options,
Devices: Restrict CD-ROM access to locally logged-on user only.  Enabled

Registry AllocateCDRoms  Method
You could also achieve the same result by editing the registry directly:

  • Type 'regedit' in the Start Search dialog box.
  • Navigate to this path:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
  • Modify AllocateCDRoms, else create a Reg_SZ.
    Set the value to 0.   Meaning make available only to local users, and NOT those connecting across the network.

MSConfig

It's always interesting to see which services and programs have hitched a ride on the operating system's startup routine.  I recommend that you click Start (orb) type 'MSconfig' in the Search dialog box and then check the 'Services' and 'Startup' tabs.

Summary of Windows 7 AutoPlay Enable | Disable

It's well worth visiting the Control Panel, Hardware and Sounds, just to see the range of media that you can enable or disable for AutoPlay.  The purpose of AutoPlay is to select which of your programs should play by default.  For example, if you insert a music DVD, AutoPlay and Autorun work together to decide which of your programs should play the sound tracks.  As with most Window 7 settings, there are additional registry keys to fine tune the behavior, which you can access via regedit or gpedit.msc.

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