Windows come default with features that supposedly make our lives more convenient. But as a result of these features, a lot of computers are pretty much vulnerable.
One such feature is the autoplay or autorun feature that kicks in whenever you pop in a CD/DVD/USB thumbdrive/USB HDD. Once you plug in the device, Windows will cheerfuly ask you how you want to open your files, hence the term autoplay or autorun.
Well, you need to DISABLE THIS FEATURE NOW.
On top of being an annoyance (having it run everytime you plug in your devices), it also poses a great big security risk to your system. See, because the autorun process automatically runs the autorun.inf file on your device by default, there’s no stopping a malicious person from distributing CDs or thumbdrives that has a virus named “autorun.inf”. And once you plug in that usb thumbdrive or CD/DVD, your Windows system automatically installs the virus for you. Nasty stuff.
To do this, follow these steps in Windows XP:
- Go to Start > Run
- Type gpedit.msc & press Enter. You should see the Group Policy window.
- In the left-hand column, select Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System
- Next, look in the right-hand column for “Turn off Autoplay”, and double-click on that.
- Next, in the “Turn Off Autoplay Properties” window, select “Enabled”
- Then choose “All drives” from the dropdown menu in “Turn off Autoplay on:”
- Click OK.
And that’s it! Your system is now a little more secure – and you can safely plug in a CD/DVD/USB thumbdrive/USB HDD without feeling all nervous.
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