Microsoft to switch off AutoPlay in Windows 7

The company said that it will be changing the AutoPlay component in Windows 7 to prevent external components such as USB drives from automatically executing code when plugged into a PC.

The new operating system will no longer present the option to install or run programs installed on the drive, instead allowing the user to open them within Windows Explorer.

Microsoft’s decision to modify the AutoPlay feature comes after a string of malicious applications began to exploit the component to install malware automatically.

The malware was disguised with a common name and icon option such as “Open folder to view files” which could then be selected by the user to run as AutoPlay, launching the malware attacks.

Microsoft said that several malicious applications, including the Conficker malware, had been exploiting the component. The attacks stem from similar techniques used by some of the earliest computer viruses to infect floppy disks.

The AutoPlay feature change will only apply removable drives. Optical media, such as CDs and DVDs will still be able to access the AutoPlay feature for such operations as launching game files.


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