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Auto start feature - how to disable

Whenever I turn my printer on, hook up my external hard drive, or other such things, Windows XP brings up a dialog automatically asking what program I would like to use when such a device is connected. How do I stop this from coming up? I don't get the "do nothing" option for some of these and the "always perform the selected action" is not always present either. I practically never make use out of this feature as it is anyway considering I'm otherwise always 2 clicks away from whatever program I want to use anyway. Is there a way I can completely prevent this dialog from appearing? It's especially annoying with my printer - turn it on and Windows is thinking it's a camera rather than a printer (probably because of all those card ports on it that I otherwise never use).
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  1. Best answer
    There is a global setting that will do the trick but it may cause problems later. This change can be "undone" as easily as it was done.

    Start>Run>Services.msc>Shell Hardware detection>disable.

    You will no longer be notified when you insert a CD/DVD or plug in new hardware.


  2. Could new hardware be installed with this service disabled or do I have to temporarily reenable it?
  3. Try it. I disabled mine and it still found and installed a USB floppy drive that has never been installed before.

    If the new hardware isn't found, it's faster and easier to re-enable it than to go through the "Add new Hardware" section of Control Panel.
  4. Thanks. I've disabled it. I'll see how this will go in the end.
  5. Best answer selected by ulillillia.
  6. This topic has been closed by Area51reopened
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