Force enable Windows 7 AutoPlay to show

Windows auto play dialog box appears upon inserting external (removable) media like memory cards (CompactFlash, Secure Digital, microSD, miniSD etc.), optical media like CD, DVD, USB devices like flash memory drives and portable hard drives. It can help you save time with a list of shortcuts to common operations.

If you use removable media frequently, and autoplay disappears even upon connecting them, it can be an irritant. In some cases, autoplay dialog box does not appear despite the external device working properly and shown in the list of devices connected. Along with that, the shell menu item (on right-click) that shows “Open Autoplay” to start it manually may also not be available.

Below are a list of reasons for autoplay being broken, and possible solutions to make it work again.

AutoPlay for all media/devices

Try setting autoplay on for all devices and media. To do so, open Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > AutoPlay. Make sure that “Use AutoPlay for all media and devices” is enabled.

When you do this, you also need to select “Ask me every time” so that you can get the choice in auto play rather than the preferred auto play action execute automatically.

Turn on Shell Hardware Detection

Open Services console (go to Start > enter service.msc in search box). Find and make sure that Shell Hardware Detection is running and startup type is automatic.

Registry edits for auto play

Another possible reason for autoplay not working is if some programs mess with default registry configuration upon install, and then fail to remove them during uninstall.

CD-ROM AutoRun
This key affects only autorun dialogs for optical media inserted to your CD/DVD drives.

Open the registry editor (type regedit in Start search box). Then find this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\CDRom

Ensure that its value is set to 1. If it is 0, change it to 1.

Other registry keys
Two other registry keys, NoDriveTypeAutoRun and NoDriveAutoRun, might have been modified. Disc burning, virtual disc and virtualization software like Nero, MagicISO and VMWare hijack AutoPlay so that the program can run properly. As mentioned earlier, they usually do not restore the registry edits, so you need to do it manually.

In registry, find this:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

Check that the value of NoDriveTypeAutoRun is 0×00000091 which is the default for Windows Vista and 7. Alternatively, you can use the value 0×00000080 to enable autoplay except on unknown reserved types.

NoDriveAutoRun is not necessary under normal conditions, so if you have problems of autoplay not running, delete the key.

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