How To Customize The AutoPlay Settings In Windows 7 & Windows 8.1

You've probably noticed that every time you insert some kind of media (a flash drive, CD or DVD), an AutoPlay window is shown with several options for you to pick from. If you would like to configure how AutoPlay works, both in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, this guide will show how:

Where to Find the AutoPlay Settings in Windows 7 & Windows 8.1

There are different ways of getting to the AutoPlay control window. One way that works both in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 is to open the Control Panel. Then, choose Hardware and Sound, then AutoPlay.

The second way is to use search. In Windows 7, type autoplay in the Start Menu's search box and click AutoPlay in the list of results.

In Windows 8.1, go to the Start screen and type autoplay. Then, click or tap the AutoPlay search result highlighted below.

Click or tap AutoPlay.

AutoPlay Settings in Windows 7 vs. Windows 8.1

The AutoPlay window looks almost the same in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. In Windows 7, you have a list with all the types of media for which you can set the autoplay behavior.

In Windows 8.1, you have the same list but with a few more types of media available for configuration. For example, Windows 8.1 allows you to set the autoplay behavior for removable drives and camera storage, while Windows 7 doesn't include these types of media.

The way you set the autoplay behavior is the same though, in both operating systems. Let's see how it works:

How to Customize the AutoPlay Behavior

In the AutoPlay window, select whether you want to use this feature for all types of media and devices. To enable AutoPlay for all media, check the box which says"Use AutoPlay for all media and devices".

For each type of media and devices, click the drop-down list on its right. There you can see a dynamic list with options to choose from.

This list is never the same on two computers, even if they have the same operating system installed. The entries available for selection depend on how many programs and apps you have installed on your computer and which of them interact with which type of media.

For example, setting up AutoPlay for an audio CD, means choosing the action that Windows will take when you insert such a CD. The list of options available on my computer are different from yours, because I installed different programs that can interact with audio CDs: Winamp, Dropbox, Windows Media Player Classic, etc.

If you pick "Ask me every time" then Windows will ask you to choose what it should do, each time you insert an audio CD. The same applies to all types of media and devices.

When you are done configuring AutoPlay for the devices that are interesting to you, click or tap Save, so that your changes are applied.

How "Ask me Every Time" Works in Windows 7 vs. Windows 8.1

When you set "Ask me every time" as the default for some type of media or device, each time you plug it in, Windows asks you what to do with it. The way it does this is different in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

In Windows 7, you see a simple AutoPlay window, like the one below. You can click on any of the available options.

You also have a checkbox that says "Always do this" for the type of media you just inserted. If you check it, then AutoPlay will always perform the action you selected, each time you enter that type of media.

In Windows 8.1, you first receive a notification that the media you inserted is available. Click or tap on it.

Then, you can choose what you want to do.

Click or tap on the option you prefer and it is executed. However, there is no checkbox for setting that action as the default for that type of media. To change the default, you need to go to the AutoPlay window and follow the instructions shared in earlier sections.


As you can see the AutoPlay feature is useful and easy to use. Configuring its behavior takes just a couple seconds and it can boost your productivity when working with different types of media and devices. If you have any questions about the way it works, don't hesitate to leave a comment using the form below.