Definition

AutoRun

1) AutoRun is a feature of the Windows operating system that causes a certain file to open or a certain program to run automatically as soon as a compact disc (CD) is inserted into the CD drive. The action taken is determined by a file called AUTORUN.INF. If the file to be opened is a music or multimedia file, the feature is called AutoPlay.

If there is no AUTORUN.INF file on an enhanced CD containing data files as well as music or multimedia files, a computer with Windows will normally start playing the music or multimedia as soon as the CD is inserted. If there is an AUTORUN.INF file on the CD, the computer follows the instructions contained in it. It is possible to disable the AutoPlay feature for music or multimedia files, or to enable it if it has been previously disabled. In Windows XP, open the Help and Support Center. Then, in the Search box, type "AutoPlay" and click on the green arrow or hit the Enter key.

2) The term AutoRun is also used in reference to a feature that causes a certain file to open or a certain program to start automatically as soon as a computer with Windows is booted up. For information on how to enable or disable this feature in Windows XP, open the Help and Support Center. Then, in the Search box, type "AutoRun" and click on the green arrow or hit the Enter key.

In Macintosh computers, the equivalent of AutoRun is called AutoStart.

Contributor(s): Teresa Buday
This was last updated in July 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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