How to disable (turn off) and troubleshoot AutoPlay in Windows 7

AutoPlay is a feature in Microsoft Windows, that lets you choose which application to use for different types of media that you insert or connect in your computer, like: devices and discs. There are two methods to disable or turn off AutoPlay in Windows 7. Choose a method and follow the steps:

Control Panel AutoPlay in Windows 7

 AutoPlay is a feature in Microsoft Windows that allows you choose which application to use for different types of media you insert or connect in your computer.

There are two methods to disable or turn off AutoPlay in Windows 7. Choose a method and follow the steps:

First method, the easy one:

1-  Click Start  Windows 7 Logo and in the search box “Search programs and files” type “autoplay” and under “Control Panel” title select AutoPlay.

2-  Uncheck the first option Use AutoPlay for all media devices to disable AutoPlay.

AutoPlay disable option

3-  Hit Save and it is done!

Second method, the slightly difficult one:

1-  Click Start  Windows 7 Logo and in the search box “Search programs and files” type “gpedit.msc” and under “Programs” title select gpedit.msc.

2-  In Local Computer Policy browse through Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components and select AutoPlay Policies.

Gpedit Autoplay policies

3-  Next, to the right of the window, double-click Turn off Autoplay setting.

4-  Then select Enabled and in the Options section choose where to turn off AutoPlay on All drives or CD-ROM and removable media drives.

Turn off AutoPlay Settings

5-  Click Apply and OK.

How to troubleshoot some AutoPlay problems

  • AutoPlay doesn’t start when I insert a CD or connect a device.

First probable cause: AutoPlay may be restricted by Group Policy.

Try the following: Contact your system administrator and ask if there is a restriction for AutoPlay, and if there is one, ask what you can do to solve your problem.

 

Second probable cause: A running program could be interfering with AutoPlay.

Try the following: Close all the running applications and try again.

 

Thrid probable cause: AutoPlay service may not be working.

Try the following:

1-  Click Start Windows 7 Logo and in the search box “Search programs and files” type “cmd” and under “Programs” title right click cmd.exe and select Run as administrator.

2-  Next, in the Windows command prompt (cmd), type net start shellhwdetection, and hit Enter.

Fixing AutoPlay from the Windows command prompt

3-  To finish, restart your computer.

 

  • I configured AutoPlay for a disc or device and I would like to change the action. Do the following:

Select the device or disc, right click on it, select Open AutoPlay… and choose a different setting.

If the device is not plugged in, hold down shift and connect the device to display the AutoPlay box again and change the setting.

Or read the article Configure specific program to automatically start with the feature Autoplay in Windows 7 for a different method.

  • How to stop AutoPlay from automatically starting a program when I connect a device or insert a disc?

 

1-  Click Start Windows 7 Logo and in the search box “Search programs and files” type “autoplay” and under “Control Panel” title select AutoPlay.

2-  To never see the AutoPlay dialog box, select the option Take no action next to the media.

  • I used to hold down shift key in the keyboard to prevent AutoPlay from appearing and now it’s not working.

Follow the steps mentioned above to stop AutoPlay from appearing in a specific device or disc.

  • I don’t see the AutoPlay box for a specific type of media or device.

It could be possible that AutoPlay may be turned off for the media or device. To fix this, do the following:

1-  Click Start Windows 7 Logo and in the search box “Search programs and files” type “autoplay” and under “Control Panel” title select AutoPlay.

2-  To see the AutoPlay dialog box, select the option Ask me every time next to the media.

  • The device is taking too long for Autoplay to discover the type of content.

The problem could be that the storage device contains a large number of files or a deep folder structure.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.