Default Programs is a control panel that is split into four programs. Set Your Default Programs, Associate A File Type Or Protocol With A Program, Change AutoPlay Settings and Set Program Access And Computer Defaults. In this section I will explain CHANGE AUTOPLAY SETTINGS which allows you to set the default action for a certain type of media or media device.
To use the Default Programs control panel go to the Control Panel and click on the DEFAULT PROGRAMS link. This will bring up the Default Programs window (Fig 1.1). You can also bring up the Default Programs window by clicking on the DEFAULT PROGRAMS Start Menu icon - Click on the START Menu button and then on the DEFAULT PROGRAMS icon (not shown/exampled here).
When the Default Programs window appears click on the CHANGE AUTOPLAY SETTINGS link to bring up the AutoPlay window (Fig 1.3). Alternatively. You can go to the Control Panel and double click on the AutoPlay icon which will also bring up the AutoPlay window.
With the AutoPlay window open you can choose which default program plays DVDs, which default program plays CDs and so on. Or you can choose another action to take for that media. For example. If you wanted to view the content of every CD inserted into the CD Drive you would choose to take the action OPEN FOLDER TO VIEW FILES USING WINDOWS EXPLORER by clicking on the AUDIO CD drop-down menu and then selecting the OPEN FOLDER TO VIEW FILES USING WINDOWS EXPLORER menu-item (Fig 1.4 below). To save that action (setting) and make it the default action you simply click on the SAVE button. From then on, each time you insert a CD into the CD Drive its main (drive) folder is opened automatically in order for you to view its content.
The action TAKE NO ACTION does nothing. If you insert a CD into the CD Drive its main (drive) folder will not automatically be opened. The CD Drive will spin the CD around (read the CD) but then stop the spinning (stop reading the CD) after a few seconds.
The action ASK ME EVERY TIME brings up an AutoPlay window with the available actions for that media (i.e. DVD). For example. Inserting a dvd with mixed content on it (i.e. photos and video clips) gives you the following options - Open the dvd as a folder, Play the dvd content as a slideshow using Windows Media Player or Import the photographs (copy them into your PICTURES folder for example).
With Windows 7 some of the default actions have been removed. For example. With Windows XP and Windows Vista you also had an option to RIP (copy music from a cd onto the computer) using Windows Media Player, but with Windows 7 you have to RIP by going into Windows Media Player first.....which is exactly what the missing RIP option did! So it should not be missed. The above was an example of a mixed content dvd of course but I mention the music cd because its AutoPlay options are more or less limited to playing a cd with the RIP option missing. Some people may find this a blessing because they view AutoPlay as a pest! whilst others may find it annoying to have to open Windows Media Player first!
Fig 1.6 Set (ticked) to always import Photograph files
Fig 1.7 Run the Setup.exe (installation) file now only
Some autoplay media has the ALWAYS DO THIS FOR... tick option available. For example. In Fig 1.6 above, if you put a tick next to the option ALWAYS DO THIS FOR SOFTWARE AND GAMES the selected action, RUN Setup.exe, will become the default setting (action). This is the equivalent to clicking on the SAVE button in the AutoPlay control panel window. And if you do not put a tick next to the option it means you only want to do the selected action once (now) but not make it the default action. In this example the Setup.exe file is the setup (installation) file that installs Microsoft Office Home And Student 2007. Hence, it only needs to be RUN once. In Fig 1.7 however I have ticked the ALWAYS... option and then clicked on the IMPORT PICTURES AND VIDEO link so that importing pictures is the default action for my homemade photo cds.
You will receive an error message if you click on an action whereby the media is not supported. For example. If you click on the IMPORT PICTURES AND VIDEO link and one of the picture files on your CD is not supported, perhaps because it is the wrong file type, you will receive an error message from the program trying to view the unknown picture file.
If you want to reset all of the AutoPlay actions back to a Choose A Default state you can do so by clicking on the RESET ALL DEFAULTS button at the bottom of the AutoPlay control panel window.
To switch off AutoPlay untick (clear) the option USE AUTOPLAY FOR ALL MEDIA AND DEVICES, located towards the top-left corner of the control panel AutoPlay window.
The above examples concentrated mainly on CD / DVD actions but the above applies to all AutoPlay actions - Follow the above explanations and apply them to the other media/media devices in other words.
Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation. As stated here by the Microsoft Corporation.