AutoRun

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AutoRun.exe is a Win32 executable program intended for use with the Windows 95, 98, Me, NT4, 2000, and XP AutoRun facility. As you are probably aware, this facility (if enabled) will automatically run an executable as soon as a CD-ROM is inserted into the CD drive of the computer.

AutoRun screen shot

One limitation of the standard AutoRun facility is the fact that it will only run executable programs; it will not by itself open document files such as web pages or text files. AutoRun.exe is designed to circumvent this restriction: it will open any number of document files or start executable programs. Moreover, it is smart enough to use a sensible fall-back strategy if no documents can be opened, perhaps because the target system does not have the required support for those document types.

AutoRun error message

AutoRun.exe requires no special support files apart from the usual autorun.inf file; in fact, it will even function without that file. Its flexibility and small size (only 8 KB) ensure that it loads very quickly and fits in almost any situation, even if the CD-ROM is nearly full.

Download AutoRun

How to use it

To use AutoRun.exe in conjunction with the Windows AutoRun facility, you will need to modify the autorun.inf file to let it start AutoRun.exe. Typically, all that is required are the following lines in autorun.inf:

[autorun]
open=autorun.exe [options] filename

In the actual autorun.inf file, filename should be replaced by the file name of the document file or executable that you want AutoRun to start. If desired, you can include more than one file name and AutoRun will open them all.

Note If filename contains spaces, be sure to enclose it in quotes or AutoRun.exe will try to open each part of the file name as a separate file.

The optional [options] allow you to modify AutoRun.exe's behavior by suppressing error messages, plus a few other things. AutoRun.exe also supports an extended syntax that allows arguments to be passed to executable programs:

[autorun]
open=autorun.exe [options]

[autorun.tarma]
run1=program1 [arguments]
run2=program2 [arguments]
...etc...

Next, include this autorun.inf file and the AutoRun.exe program in the root directory of the CD-ROM image, and add any other files that you need (including the document files or programs that AutoRun must open) in the appropriate locations on the CD-ROM image, then burn the CD. Obviously, it might be a good idea to test the setup first; the easiest way to do this is to double-click the AutoRun.exe icon; a special feature of AutoRun.exe will process the autorun.inf file in lieu of Windows in this case.

The AutoRun distribution contains the full user manual.