AutoPlay checks newly connected removable media (e.g. USB flash drives or CDs) and launches an appropriate program to play/display the content – based on the media content e.g. pictures, music or video files.
[Note: AutoPlay is not the same as AutoRun – there is a handy guide here which explains the differences]
Some users may not want to use AutoPlay at all – they prefer to just connect the removable media without taking any immediate action. To disable AutoPlay:
From the Windows 8 Start (tiled) Screen – Just start typing Control and the Windows 8 automatic search will display the Control Panel app – click it to open the Control Panel (in the Windows desktop) – skip to the Control Panel section below
From the Windows Desktop – Move the mouse to the top right of the screen to bring up the Charms bar and select Settings (or press Windows key + i as a shortcut to Settings) then select Control Panel OR
Move the mouse to the bottom left of the screen to display the hot corner ‘Start’ icon and right click it to bring up the ‘Power User’ menu then select Control Panel.
Within Control Panel – If Control Panel is in Category View, select the ‘Hardware and Sound’ category then select ‘AutoPlay’ or if Control Panel is in Icons (Small or Large) View just select ‘AutoPlay’ – both methods open the AutoPlay window:
Untick ‘Use AutoPlay for all media and devices’ then press the ‘Save’ button – AutoPlay is now disabled.
How To Configure AutoPlay in Windows 8 – Initially, AutoPlay in Windows 8 simply pops up a message asking you to choose what happens with removable media – because AutoPlay has not yet been configured to take any specific actions:
To configure AutoPlay, follow the process above to open the AutoPlay window. Here you can select a global default action or program for a Removable Drive (e.g. Open folder…) or, for more granularity, tick the box to ‘Choose what to do with each type of media’ and select different actions or programs for picture and music etc.
For other media like DVDs and CDs you configure different actions to take place depending on the type of media e.g. blank disc, audio CD etc.
The basic process to disable or configure AutoPlay is much the same in Windows 8 and in Windows 7, it just requires different methods to access Control Panel. Windows 8 still provides a variety of options to choose what you want it to do – or even if you want to disable it altogether.