Using Hardware AutoPlay

AutoPlay is a new feature introducted in Windows XP that detects content such as pictures, music, or video files on removable media and removable devices. AutoPlay then automatically launches applications to play or display that content. This simplifies the use of specialized peripheral devices such as MPEG-Layer 3 (MP3) players and digital photo readers. It also makes it easier for users who are unfamiliar with the software needed to access various content types.

An expanded selection of icons, including branded icons for major manufacturers, is included to offer improved visual differentiation of drives and other attached devices in My Computer. Icons for devices with removable media, with the exception of floppy drives, are provided in both ready and not ready versions to indicate the current state of the device. This confirms that a device hot-plugged into the system is ready for use, and it helps avoid "device not ready" messages from devices without media inserted.

Note  AutoPlay should not be confused with AutoRun. AutoRun enables a compact disc to automatically launch a function, such as an installer or game play, when placed in the CD-ROM drive. This is accomplished through the use of an Autorun.inf file in the root directory of the compact disc. For more details, see Creating an AutoRun-enabled CD-ROM Application.

This documentation is organized in the following sections.