Under Windows Operating Systems, inserting a CD into your CD drive (audio or data) will commonly cause a program to run. Audio CDs cause the program associated with audio CDs (typically Winamp or Windows Media Player) to start, while data CDs commonly cause a developer-specified program to run (usually an install executable).

Autorun (aka autoplay) data CDs check for a file named AUTORUN.INF in the root directory of the CD in order to determine which program to execute.

Your typical AUTORUN.INF:

How to (temporarily) disable autoplay/autorun:

Hold down the left shift key until the CD drive has finished its initial spin.

How to (permanently) disable autoplay/autorun:

  1. Click Start -> Settings -> Control Panel
  2. Double-click the System icon
  3. Under the Device Manager tab, click the plus sign next to 'CDROM'
  4. Double-click the entry for your CD drive
  5. Under the Settings tab, uncheck the Auto Insert Notification box