Creating an AutoRun USB Flash Drive

I was attempting to create a bootable USB drive for the Windows operating system fresh install, and came across this nifty trick, but not what I was looking for.

What an AutoRun flash drive will be able to do, is when you plug the USB stick into a Windows computer, it will pop up and attempt to AutoRun. This is common for DVDs, that AutoRun some kind of media software and attempt to play the movie or music on the disc. Some artists may use this if they choose to start sending their USB stick in the mail, rather than a CD, or anybody who creates a portfolio that they send off in the mail.

Windows detects the arrival and checks the contents for a special file containing a set of instructions. For a commercial application, these instructions normally initiate installation of the software from the CD-ROM. To maximise the likelihood of installation success, AutoRun also acts when the drive is accessed. ~Wikipedia

How to create the autorun USB flash drive:

  1. Open Notepad ( start -> run -> notepad , or also found in your applications )
  2. Type:

    [Autorun]
    Open=MyApp.exe
    Action=Start MyApp
    Label=My Portable PC
    Icon=MyApp.exe

  3. Save this file onto the USB flash drive with the name autorun.inf

NOTE: MyApp is the name of your program that you want to run.

If you’re interested in reading or learning more, head to the Wikipedia page for a start, where you’ll learn the difference between AutoPlay and AutoRun also.

As a side note, Microsoft has a system monitoring program called Autoruns and Autorunsc that you can monitor which programs are automatically running on your computer, for those of you really nerdy folks out there.

Special thanks to Visual Designing for their helpful article on this.

3 Comments

  1. bobby June 7, 2015 9:35 am  Reply

    hi.. can you tell me … why do i get acces dennied error 🙁 i want to edit autorun to boot a iso image from my usb flash drive … but i can’t

    • Ned June 7, 2015 11:02 am  Reply

      Bobby, Access denied errors are because of.. access restrictions. Each file on your computer has a set of privileges assigned to it. This is immediately recognizable when you have different users on your computer, but more so, system admin, SUDO user on Ubuntu boxes, etc.

      The first thing I would suggest is to check who owns the file. Right click on file -> Properties -> security. In there you should see access permissions which includes edit and delete. If the owner of the file is not you, and you wan to be, you can change it in there.

      I talk about some of the solutions that might work in this article on Location Not Accessible.

      Another question I would ask is what program are you using to edit your file? A simple text editor will do the trick, I’m partial to Notetab++.

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