good to know exists: autoplay repair wizard

Depending on who you ask, autoplay is either useful, or annoying. It used to be one of those things you just turned off on a new Windows install, but in recent years I’ve grown to like it (despite the obvious security questions it raises).

It’s useful, but a bit flawed, because there’s many ways to disable it (all of which you’d have to know about, to fix any problems). Including group policies, a concept no mere human should have to grapple with.

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for autoplay problems I only discovered just today. Microsoft themselves publish the Autoplay Repair Wizard, which is an impressive little thing that runs without having to install it…


…and aggressively works through the list of things that could be messing with autoplay. In the case of the PC I worked on today, AP was disabled in both the user and local machine policies, which I probably wouldn’t have figured out myself.

You have to log out and back into Windows to try each fix as it applies them, because changes don’t take effect until you do that. I had to do that twice, because once it found a problem in one group policy it stopped and didn’t check the others, but it was thorough and fixed the issues in the end in a matter of minutes.


There’s also a “trust me, there’s a problem…” mode, where it’ll watch what you’re doing for a minute or so and try to spot inconsistencies between you opening and closing your CD drive (or plugging in a thumbdrive) and what the Autoplay service actually sees and responds to. I didn’t need to go that far, but if you’ve found this post by googling for autoplay fixers, your mileage may vary.

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