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Autoplay the Easy Way!

Darlene from North Carolina writes:

Can you tell me how to get ‘Auto Play’ to start working again on my HP 64-bit desktop with Vista Windows? I always have to search for my devices under ‘Computer’.

Hi, Darlene.

Not only can I tell you how to restore your Autoplay, but it would be my absolute pleasure.

The first thing that I’ll tell you is that the screenshots that you’ll see below are from Windows 7, which is what my PC is running, but the steps are the same for Vista.  So if your screen looks a little different, don’t panic.  It’s fine.

There are two ways to do this.  The first way that I’ll show you is a little more cumbersome, because you have to do it the first time that you insert a disc or open a file, but after that, it’ll be set.  When you insert a disc with a movie, pictures, music, whatever on it, you’ll get a window that looks something like this:

When that pops up, you check the little box (outlined in red here) that says “Always do this for pictures” then choose from the list what you’d always like done with pictures.  From then on, whenever you insert a disc with pictures on it, your computer will do that without asking.  If you’re opening a file from the internet, you’ll get a box that looks like this:

You can either choose to have your computer open this with a certain program (in this case GOM player) or you can choose to have it save the file to your hard drive.  If you don’t like the program that is in your “open with” box, then you can click the down arrow in that box to choose another program.  Once you’ve clicked the box that you want and chosen your program, click on the check box that says “Do this automatically with files like this from now on”, click OK and you’re all set.

The other way to do it, where you can set Autoplay on all of your file types at once is to go into your control panel.  Click the Start button and then Control Panel.

What you do next depends on your control panel settings, which are all a matter of personal preference.  What you’re looking for, though, is “Programs” and “Default Programs”.  For instance, in Win 7 with the category view, which is what I have, you click on the “Programs” heading and then, under the “Default Programs” subheader, you’ll find an option that says “Make a file type always open in a specific program”.  Clumsy grammar aside, this is what you want.

You’re going to want to give your list a moment to populate.  Don’t panic if it comes up blank for a few seconds, it’s just looking for possible file types to guide you.  Once it populates, it will look something like this:

Double-click on whichever file type you want to select a program for, in this case I’ve got .3gp selected, and you’ll get this:

Here you can use a program from the list that it provides, or you can browse your computer for another program.  If you choose to browse your computer, be sure to look in both the “Programs” and the “Program Files (X86)” subdirectories. The reason for this is that programs are listed in BOTH subdirectories.  You’ll notice that the “always use this for this file type” box is grayed out, because you’re choosing the default program, so it already knows that you want this.  Once you’ve selected your program, click “OK”.

If you’re trying to set up Autoplay for a specific device, such as a CD or DVD, then you want to go back to that “Default Programs” spot and choose “Change default settings for media or devices”.

The main reason to do this would be to set basically all of your Autoplay options at once.  When you select that option, you get a screen that looks like this:

I’ve got “Software and Games” expanded here so that you can see a selection of the options that it gives to you.  You’ll also notice that there is a check-mark in the upper left hand corner for turning the Autoplay option on or off.  Come to think of it, Darlene, that may be your problem… your check box got unchecked at some point.  If that’s all that happened, then please feel free to disregard the rest of this article and simply check the box.

Otherwise, I hope that this helped.

~Randal Schaffer