How to configure autoplay on Windows 10

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 23, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

Autoplay is a long-standing feature of the Windows operating system that is also part of Windows 10. Basically, what it does is give users of the operating system options to handle different devices connected to the operating system or media automatically.

Basic examples are automatically copying new photos from the digital camera or smartphone storage to the hard drive of the Windows device, or starting to play a video DVD in the desired media player automatically when it is inserted.

Autoplay functionality is only available for specific device types, e.g. digital cameras, smartphones, or tablets, and media, e.g. audio CDs or video DVDs. It is also available for removable storage devices that you may connect to your computer but there only in limited form.

Windows 10 users have several options when it comes to configuring autoplay functionality:

  • Autoplay can be disabled for all devices and media.
  • Configure autoplay functionality for individual devices.

Configuring Autoplay on Windows 10

windows 10 autoplay

Windows 10 users and administrators find autoplay configuration options in the Settings application and in the legacy Control Panel.

Microsoft revealed plans in 2015 to migrate the Control Panel to the Settings application in Windows 10; the process is still ongoing and judging from the snail-like speed in which it happens, some Control Panel menus will remain available in the coming years.

The Settings app

autoplay windows 10 settings

  1. Launch the Settings application on the Windows 10 device with the Windows-I shortcut.
  2. Select Devices > Autoplay to open the configuration page.

The Settings application supports two main options: toggle autoplay functionality globally or define autoplay for individual devices.

Note: while you can set up default actions using the Settings application, I have found this to be buggy at times. When a particular setting did not work immediately, selecting a default action from the Action Center prompt helped most of the time to make it the default action for the device or media.

When you disable Autoplay in the Settings application autoplay is turned off globally. Windows does not display autoplay prompts anymore when you turn off the functionality. Note that it is possible to bypass this by holding down the Shift-key while you connect a device to the Windows 10 machine.

You may configure default Autoplay settings for individual devices. Windows 10 should list all devices connected to the PC in the past provided that they are not removable storage devices.

These are the default actions that are available for all device and media types that support autoplay:

  • Take No Action -- Autoplay is disabled.
  • Ask me every time -- Display a prompt so that you may select the desired action.

The following options may be available as well:

  • Import photos and videos (App) -- Import media using the mentioned application, e.g. Photos or Dropbox.
  • Sync digital media files to this device (App) -- Sync media with the device using the specified application.
  • Open device to view files (App) -- Opens the device's root in File Explorer or another file management program.
  • Quickly transfer photos and videos (App) -- Uses a different method to transfer media to the device.
  • Configure Storage Settings -- Opens Storage in the Settings application.

You can change the default action at any time in the Settings application.

The Control Panel

control panel autoplay

Autoplay settings are still available in the Control Panel as of Windows 10 version 1809.

  1. Tap on the Windows-key to open Start.
  2. Type Control Panel and select the result to launch the Windows Control Panel.
  3. Go to Hardware and Sound > AutoPlay.

The Control Panel settings are more extensive as you find specific types of media, removable drives, and even software listed on the page.

The available options are identical to the ones provided by the Settings applications but it is possible to set actions more granular.

For DVDs for instance, you may select actions for DVD movies, Enhanced DVD movies, Blank DVDs, and DVD-Audio discs separately. The same is true for Blu-Ray and CDs, and removable drives, and there is even an option to configure autoplay for software and games. All of these options are missing from the Settings application.

You do find connected devices listed in the Control Panel as well, and the changes that you may seem to sync with the Settings app and vice versa.

The Group Policy

windows 10 group policy autoplay

Administrators find Autoplay policies in the Windows Group Policy. Note that the Group Policy is only available on professional editions of Windows 10 and not Home editions.

Tip: Windows 10 Home users and admins can try Policy Plus, a third-party program that brings most of the functionality of the Group Policy to Windows 10 Home devices.

  1. Tap on the Windows-key to open Start.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and hit the Enter-key. This starts the Group Policy Editor.
  3. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > AutoPlay Policies.

Note that some policies are found under User Configuration as well to set them for individual users on the system and not globally. If User Configuration and Computer Configuration policies exist, Computer Configuration is selected.

Windows 10 lists four entries there:

  1. Turn off Autoplay -- Enable the policy to turn off autoplay functionality for all drives or for CD-Rom and removable media drives only.
  2. Prevent AutoPlay from remembering user choices -- Enable the policy to make Windows forget about previous user selections in autoplay prompts.
  3. Disallow Autoplay for non-volume devices -- Enable the policy to disable AutoPlay functionality for MTP devices such as cameras or phones.
  4. Set the default behavior for AutoRun --  Enable the policy to allow autorun commands to be executed.

Turning off AutoPlay using the Windows Registry

windows autoplay turn off

You can disable AutoPlay functionality for individual users in the Registry.

  1. Tap on the Windows-key to display the Start menu.
  2. Type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key.
  3. Confirm the UAC prompt that is displayed.
  4. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AutoplayHandlers
  5. Double-click on DisableAutoplay
    • A value of 0 means AutoPlay is enabled.
    • A value of 1 means AutoPlay functionality is disabled.

Now You: Do you use AutoPlay functionality on your devices?

Related articles

How to configure autoplay on Windows 10
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How to configure autoplay on Windows 10
Want to configure autoplay behavior on Windows 10? Our guide walks you through the steps of configuring AutoPlay for individual devices or globally.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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