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Disable Autorun to Stop 50 Percent Of Windows Viruses

Disable Autorun to Stop 50 Percent Of Windows Viruses

How to disable Autorun to stop 50 percent of Windows viruses…

The recent biannual Security Intelligence Report from Microsoft draws attention to a security loop hole thought to be responsible for up to 50 percent of malware threats to Windows XP and Vista machines; the Autorun feature.

Already known to most IT savvy users as being a huge player in the spreading of malware, this little feature, originally designed to quickly search and execute programs and media files, also makes your system more susceptible to infection.

Most Windows users will have noticed that when you plug in a USB storage device, play a CD, or connect to certain networks, a prompt box will popup and automatically search for files before giving you several options to either play files in a media player, or open the folder a file is located in, or burn files to a CD.

disable autorun

How To Disable Autorun in Windows

This is the Autorun feature at work, a great feature for the extremely lazy wanting to save two or three clicks of the mouse before accessing their files, but a terrible feature for those who security is priority.

The problem lies in the type of malware that typically ends up on storage devices. Often referred to as a ‘worm’, malicious programs like these get automatically executed by the Autorun as it searches through the files. And since malware usually comes as hidden file – invisible in the window of Explorer – you don’t even see the program in the list of files and folders.

The report claims that Windows XP SP3 systems get infected around 6 times as much as Windows 7 32-bit systems, and 10 times as much Windows 7 64-bit systems. So there’s definitely a good reason to upgrade if you haven’t already done so.

How to Disable Autorun in Windows XP and Vista

Luckily there are several simple ways to disable the Autorun feature. By doing so you’ll need to click a few extra times to locate and open the file/s your looking for, but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that no pesky malware apps are secretly worming their way on your machine.

Perhaps the easiest way to turn off Autorun is to download and run a program like Disable Autorun, or Panda USB Vaccine. These apps are specifically developed to disable Autorun, but you’ll need access to the Internet to obtain the software.

But the most sure fire method of disabling Autorun is by editing the registry in Windows. Although this might sound quite technical, it’s actually fairly straight forward.

  • Simply open the note pad application and copy and paste the following line of text:
    • REGEDIT4
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping\Autorun.inf]
      @=”@SYS:DoesNotExist”
  • Then save the file, but change the file extension from .txt to .reg (you’ll need to change the “Save File as Type” option to “All Files”).
  • Navigate to the file you just saved and open it by double clicking.
  • A prompt box will appear asking if you would like to add the data to the registry. Click ‘Yes’.

This method completely disables Autorun for good, and works on XP Home and Pro, and Windows Vista.



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Source:

  1. Nick Brown and Mary Landesman: Disable Autorun. About.com, 2011.
  2. Disable AutoRun to Stop 50% of Windows Malware Threats. LifeHacker, 11/11/2011.
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