How To Disable Auto play In Windows XP

In this tutorial we will look at how to disable the Auto Play function in Windows XP. This feature can be useful to people who are fairly new to computers, but it can also be a pain to dismiss every time you insert a CD/DVD/USB or any other form of external storage into the machine, as well as a security risk.

Normally when you insert an external storage device, you will see the following window by default:

Auto Play Prompt

Most people will simply click Cancel to dismiss it. To stop your Windows XP computer from prompting you each time is fairly simple and can be done in a couple of ways.

If you are using Windows XP Pro (XP Home users, see the second half on this tutorial below)  then you can do this via the Group Policy settings. To get there, press the Windows Key+R and type gpedit.msc and hit Enter. Or go Start>Run and type gpedit.msc and hit Enter. This will open the Group Policy window. In this window navigate to Local Computer Policy>Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>System. Click on the System folder (yellow) on the left hand-side and you will see the system options show in the main window. Scroll down to Turn Off Auto Play

GPedit Auto Play XP 1

By default it will be in the Not Configured state. To change this, double-click on it to access the Turn Off Auto Play properties window.

Turn Off Auto Play properties

In this window, select Enabled at the top, and in the centre box, click the drop down menu and choose All Drives. Now hit Apply and OK.

Group Policy Window

You will now see that Auto Play has been configured as shown above and you will no longer get the Auto Play prompt.

Windows XP Home Edition

Users of this version of XP will not have the Group Policy function, so instead download TweakUI (one of MS Power Toys for Windows XP) from Microsoft. In TweakUI get to the AutoPlay settings by clicking on the ‘+’ next to My Computer (to expand sub-menu) then click the ‘+’ next to AutoPlay and then click on Drives. Once you click on Drives, you will see all the available drives show alphabetically on the right.

Tweak UI

By default, these will all have ticks in the boxes next to them. To stop the AutoPlay prompt for particular drives, simply untick it. I have unticked all of mine, as I have a lot of different drives that have manually assigned drive letters. Hit Apply and OK.

TweakUI can be used on both flavours of Windows XP.

Hope this helps.

  • Robby

    Gpedit.msc has some bug(Microsoft even released a patch for it), and doesn’t work good. After some time, actions done with gpedit just stop work. I use Autoplay Disabler Pro, it’s simple app but works the job great. I can disable or enable autoplay and autorun with single click. My recommendation…

  • mundragon

    Great thanx, You are master!
    Regards from pl

%d bloggers like this: