When AutoPlay is enabled, Windows 7 checks for a file named Autorun.inf or a similar file, such as StartCD.ini, when you insert a CD or DVD into a CD or DVD drive. For software applications and games, this file identifies the Setup program and related installation parameters that should be used to install the software or game.

Figure 4-2. Setting AutoPlay defaults

Generally, Autorun.inf, StartCD.ini, and similar files are all text-based. This means you can view their contents in any standard text editor, such as WordPad or Notepad. Most Autorun.inf files are similar to the following example:


DisplayName=Microsoft Encarta 2007

When AutoPlay triggers this Autorun.inf file, Windows 7 opens a file named Setup.exe when the CD or DVD is inserted into the CD or DVD drive. Because Setup.exe is a program, Windows 7 runs this program. The Autorun.inf file also specifies an icon to use, and the program's display name. As long as AutoPlay is enabled, you can retrigger the default action by ejecting and then reinserting the installation media. You can also double-click on the drive's icon in Windows Explorer, but this will bypass the "Ask me every time" and go direct to an Autorun or AutoPlay action.

Although you'll usually find that an Autorun.inf file opens and then runs a Setup program, this isn't always the case. When AutoPlay triggers this Autorun.inf file, Windows 7 opens a file named Default.htm in Internet Explorer: [autorun]

OPEN=Autorun\ShelExec default.htm

StartCD.ini and similar files expand on the basic options provided in Autorun.inf files. For example, StartCD.ini defines a window to display along with the graphics, text, and options for that window. The caption, display text, command to run, the run action and the error text for each option are listed under an [Option] entry, such as:

[Option1] Caption=&TS Setup DataText1=Install Windows TS.

DataText2=Install the Windows TS. The Windows TS contains a set of tools to help you manage terminal services.

DataText3=Once the installation is complete, click Start, click All Programs, click Windows TS, click Documentation and open the Windows TS User's Guide. Cmd=msiexec.exe

CmdParameters=/i "%RootDir%\wts.msi"

ErrorSoln=Check to make sure that this file is accessible. If it is not accessible, try opening the file from its original location.


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