Autoplay: Placing a icon of the inserted device on the Desktop

Originally Posted on the Technet Windows 7 forums:

Recently I took Linux Mint for a test drive and one of the most satisfying features I encountered while using it was this; When inserting a media device or CD it would simply place a icon/shortcut on the desktop and you could access it there rather, than the methods Windows requires like navigating to the device via My Computer or using Autoplay.

My question is simple: Is there any way to enable a feature similar to this in Windows 7 and if not, will Microsoft ever change Windows Autoplay method?
I think I speak for most users when I say Autoplay is intrusive and annoying rather than functional. Sure it works, like if you know you are going to browse the device or watch a movie you can select the appropriate option, but what if you close the dialog box? Then what? You are stuck with navigating to your media; which isn't hard at all, but it is just one more step and one more inconvenience. I would much rather settle with a feature for this situation like the one Linux or even OSX incorporates.

I've been using Win7 since its initial Beta release and am 99% satisfied with nearly all of its features and changes, but when I saw how Linux had taken a extremely simple and elegant approach to managing devices, it really made me feel....well, cheated. Ease of access is the most important feature I require in a OS, and Windows 7 has fallen short in my eyes of achieving that. I will mention again though, I am still 99% satisfied with the product and look forward to its official release.

Well,, Windows handles things differently. And even in linux, the icon doesn't always show up on the desktop.
Yes, it probably could be implemented in windows, but, it really isn't necessary in my opinion. It would create desktop clutter, and just one more thing to cause problems with the desktop.

Plus, Auto Play (if you have a need to use devices from which you have no idea where they came from, or even new devices purchased in a store that have been compromised) should be disabled in windows anyway, unless you are running as a regular user with UAC and not an admin, and even then, it's a good idea to disable. As viruses can be spread through USB/DVD/CD using autoplay feature. It's rare, but possible.


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Auto-play should in fact be disabled and I believe it to be completely disabled in the final version of Windows 7 for security reasons. In prior versions of Windows, you will remember that auto-play upon inserting a disk would immediately execute whatever the autorun was on the disk. This resulted in who knows how many people getting their system wiped out due to lax security for the sake of convenience.

You can create shortcut to your mountable volumes, whether they be network drives, CD-ROM, DVD, Bluray, hard disks, by going to My Computer and dragging the icon to the Desktop. While you won't automatically have this icon appear (it will always be there unless you remove it), that is one workaround for the Linux issue you are talking about.

Then of course, Linux has alwas been geared towards more advanced users, and we must ask ourselves how many people would complain, upon inserting a disc, that an unknown icon had appeared on their desktop. The fire would start again... lol

You can create shortcut to your mountable volumes, whether they be network drives, CD-ROM, DVD, Bluray, hard disks, by going to My Computer and dragging the icon to the Desktop.
Unfortunately the adverse effects are that, sometimes driver letters change with multiple (numerous) usb devices are plugged/unplugged from a PC. So, the icons would not always remain correct. But they should for a while.


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It is possible to assign a permanent drive letter using the Computer Management MMC snap-in, even with USB drives.

Windows Key + R on keyboard
Disk Management
Right-click on the volume
Change drive letter and paths...

It still doesn't always keep. Espicially if something replaces the USB hardware information of one for another for whatever reason. Then you could have the problem where the drive sill not be accessible till you go into computer management and reset the drive letter, cause it will mount the drive, but give it a blank drive letter.

Use USBDeview for a bit more clarification.

It is not completely common problem, but it isn't rare either.

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