Why does autoplay keep popping up on my screen?

Written by andrew mikael
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Why does autoplay keep popping up on my screen?
External devices are one reason an AutoPlay window appears. (external drive image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com)

Autoplay simplifies the process of opening new media when you connect a device to your computer or insert a disc. A malfunctioning AutoPlay service may continually inform you with popup windows about a device whether you instigate the service or not. Windows has a few tools and techniques to stop a rogue AutoPlay from continually appearing.

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The AutoPlay Window

The heading in the AutoPlay window provides some clues about the offending service. Look for a title such as "Removable Disc" or the name of a CD in your disc tray. If you recognise the title as a device plugged into your computer, then you know which device is malfunctioning.

Physical Device Inspection

Most disk drives and external devices provide visual indicators of use, usually a small light. Inspect any disk drives, USB drives, external hard drives and printers to see if the light is active. If the light comes on at the same moment the AutoPlay window appears, then the lit device is the cause of the popup.

AutoPlay Configuration

Open the Control Panel in icon view and select the "AutoPlay" symbol to open the AutoPlay configuration utility. Locate the device or option causing the problem in the list, and choose "Take no action" in the drop-down menu. Though the device may continue to activate, no AutoPlay box will appear. Some devices use multiple options on the list, and you may need to repeat this step for each option the device uses.

Disable the Device

If you do not need the device to be active, disabling it will cease the AutoPlay popup as well as stop the device from activating. Open "Device Manager" from the Control Panel and double click on the device you wish to disable. In the "Driver" tab, click "Disable" to stop the device from activating. The AutoPlay window should cease to appear, though you will not be able to use the device. If you wish to use the device again, reenable it from the same window.

Driver Update

To restore the device to proper working order, reinstall or update the driver. From the Device Manager "Driver" window, click "Update Driver" and Windows will attempt to update the software automatically. If Windows cannot automatically update the device, or if there is no update and you wish to reinstall, visit the device producer's Web site and download the driver files.

System Restore

If updating the driver does not stop the AutoPlay window from appearing, use the System Restore utility and reset Windows to a date before the problem began. Open System Restore in the Control Panel and select a restore point. Allow System Restore to shut down and restart your computer.

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