Autoplay works not only on CD-ROMS, but also on the flash drives and external hard drives that one connects to the PC. If some piece of malware or virus gets on one of those drives, Autoplay will give it a clear path onto the PC. I decided to turn off Autoplay on my PC so that i can be safe from virus-infected drives.
If Autoplay is off, then you can have the chance to scan the device for viruses before exploring it.
IN XP; 1) Click Start, Run and enter GPEDIT.MSC 2) In the tree pane on the left, navigate to Local Computer Policy/Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System. 3) Scroll in the right pane and locate the entry for TURN AUTOPLAY OFF. 4) In the Turn Off Autoplay propertie's dialog box, click Enabled and choose All drives from the drop-down list underneath. Click OK
IN VISTA; To open the Run command in Vista, simply Press Windows-R ( windows button plus R). You can follow similar steps above but i learnt from some sources that this approach can cause trivial problems on some systems; because of this, I advise you to use the Microsoft's free TweakUI to get this fixed. Recommended source : http://www.filehippo.com/download_tweakui/
To get TweakUI working on Windows Vista, just download the XP version with the correct architecture from the Microsoft's website (i.e. if you have Vista x64 download TweakUI x64, and if you have Vista x86 download the x86 edition).
After setup is finished, right click the shortcut to TweakUI -> Properties -> Compatibility. Set it to Run as an administrator and in XP compatibility mode. Close the dialog box and run the application. Let me know if this works on your PC by leaving some comments.