A few days ago I made for study purposes a USB stick which, once connected to the computer, steals all the passwords saved on it. Using this key I was able to demonstrate how very weak the security of the passwords used inside a PC is. To protect ourselves, however, we can follow various paths, first of all deactivating AutoPlay. If you are interested in this and therefore want to investigate the matter, take a few minutes of free time all to yourself and concentrate on reading this tutorial focused on the subject.
Assuming that the use of the key is based on the aforementioned Windows AutoPlay which, as can be easily deduced from the name itself, allows you to automatically start the software contained in a pendrive (or other removable media) as soon as it is inserted inside the USB port of the PC, to avoid the occurrence of situations such as that of my experiment, it can certainly be a good and right thing to disable this functionality. I know, at first glance it might seem like a useful and practical feature, which saves us time by avoiding having to open the folder, look for the executable file and click on it. In reality, however, it is potentially dangerous since it is precisely this characteristic that often and not exactly willingly allows the spread of viruses from the keys to the computers and the carrying out of other unsuitable operations.
Taking all this into account, today, with this guide of mine, I want to illustrate you How disable automatic starting of USB sticks. So take a few minutes of time, book all for yourself, position yourself comfortably in front of your computer and immediately start concentrating on reading what is reported below. In the end, I'm sure, you can finally tell yourself very happy and satisfied with what you have learned.
Programs to Disable the Automatic Start of USB Sticks
Taking note of the fact that unfortunately Windows does not integrate a special function to deactivate the AutoPlay only and exclusively for pendrives (the function can be activated or deactivated in general, for all units), to succeed in the enterprise it is necessary to use some special programs of third parties. You ask me which ones? Well, the ones you find indicated and explained below are in my opinion the best in the category.
If you want to disable the automatic startup of USB sticks on your Windows PC, you can first resort to using AutoRunExterminator. It is a free software that works on all editions of the Microsoft operating system that allows you to activate and deactivate the automatic start of USB sticks by blocking the autorun.inf file. It is very easy to use, does not require installation to be used and no special technical skills are required to be able to exploit it. It should be noted that it is not able to act also on CDs, DVDs or in any case on media other than pendrives.
To use it, first connect to the program download page on Softpedia. Then press on the button Download which is at the top left and click on the button Softpedia Secure Download (US) in the box you see appear on the screen (if the download does not start, click on the other button).
Once the download is complete, extract the ZIP archive you just obtained in any location on your computer and then start the .exe file inside it. Once this is done, you will see the AutorRunExterminator icon appear in the Windows notification area (next to the system clock, on the taskbar) indicating that the program has taken action.
Therefore, starting from this moment the automatic start of USB sticks will be automatically blocked. Then when you want to stop using the software and then restore the AutoPlay function, just close AutoRunExterminator by right clicking on its icon always attached to the Windows notification area, choose Exit from the menu that appears and click on Si in response to the on-screen alert.
However, keep in mind that when the program is running, it displays the exact count of the number of devices detected and blocked. Just open the software window and give a look at the section Info on the right. You can also view a detailed log by clicking on the button Open Logs, which is always on the right.
If, on the other hand, you want to customize the operation of the software so that every time a pendrive or other device that should have taken advantage of the AutoPlay is blocked, a special warning appears on the screen, check the box Show alerts found on the left, still in the AutoRunExterminator window. If you want to have the software start when Windows starts, check the box next to the wording Start with Windows. In both cases, then press the button Minimize not to close the program and bring it back to the notification area.
Another excellent program to which you can appeal, as an alternative to the one I have just pointed out, is USBDeView. It is a free and portable tool that allows you to discover all kinds of information about USB devices that are connected to the PC, including drives, disable and enable devices that are connected, if necessary, to manage the AutoPlay and also perform a speed test on data transfer. In short, it is a rather complete and versatile tool.
To use it for your purpose, first connect to the download page of the program and then click on the link Download USBDeview present in the center if what you are using is a 32-bit earthquake or on the link Download USBDeview for x64 systems if what you are using is a 64-bit system. Also download the Italian translation file by scrolling slightly further down the page and clicking on the link Italian in the table.
Once the download is complete, extract the ZIP files obtained in the same location (any) on your computer, then open the .exe file contained within the first compressed archive and click on Run. Once the on-screen program window is displayed, select the reference USB key from the list that appears.
Now, if you want to disable automatic execution only, click on the item options which is at the top and remove the check from the wording Automatically run on Device Connection in the menu that appears. You can quickly activate and deactivate the function in question also by pressing the button F8 on the PC keyboard or by right clicking on the device name and choosing the item Automatic execution give the menu to compare.
If you want to completely disable the device in question, click on the button with the red dot located in the application toolbar and press the button Si in response to the warning that appears on the screen. When you want it, you can enable the device again by pressing the button with the green ball, always placed in the upper part of the program window.
As well as as I have just indicated, you can deactivate and reactivate a given device by selecting it from the list in the center of the screen, right-clicking on it and choosing the item Disable selected devices or that one Enable selected devices from the relevant menu that appears. You can also quickly recall the functions in question by pressing the keys respectively F6 ed F7 on the keyboard.
Bitdefender USB Immunizer
Another little program that I invite you to consider in order to disable the automatic start of USB sticks is Bitdefender USB Immunizer. It is a zero-cost resource which, as the name suggests, was developed by the software house Bitdefender, famous for its antivirus solutions and for the protection of computers and mobile devices in general. It was designed with the intent of helping the user to immunize USB devices or SD cards by preventing the automatic execution of malware. Let's see in detail how it works.
At this point, to make Bitdefender USB Immunizer take action automatically every time a USB key is connected to the computer, click on the inlet of thegear that you find in the upper right part of the software window and brings up ON l'interruttore che trovi in corrispondenza della dicitura Automatically Immunize all the USB drivers in the new window that opened. If you have second thoughts, just bring it up again OFF the switch.
If, on the other hand, you want to distill the automatic start only for a given USB stick, click on the device you want to immunize in the main program window and that's it. To cancel the operation, simply click again on the pendrive icon in the software window. Easy, right?
Panda USB Vaccine
Panda USB Vaccine is another program that works similar to the above resource. However, it is a tool developed by Panda Security, another software house famous for its antivirus solutions. The operation of the tool is good or bad similar to that of Bitdefender, which is why it can be a valid alternative.
To download it to your computer, connected to the download page of the program and presses the button Download that you find at the bottom of the screen. Then fill in the form that appears with the requested data (name, e-mail address, etc.) and click on Send. Then access the e-mail address you specified in the form, open the e-mail that was sent to you by the company and click on the link contained within it to download the program file on your computer.
Now, if you want to disable the automatic start for a specific USB stick, connect it to the computer, select its name from the menu next to the item Select an USB drive and then press the button Vaccinate USB. In case of second thoughts, press the button again to disable the software action.
I also point out that if you want you can disable the AutoPlay function not only for a specific pendrive but for all devices in general that are connected to the computer. To do this, press the button Vaccinate computer. If you have second thoughts, click on it again.
Completely Disable AutoPlay on Windows
As I told you a few lines above, in addition to disabling the automatic start by intervening on the single USB sticks thanks to the use of the above programs, you can access the Windows settings and disable the use of iAutoPlay in general, without having to download and use third party tools. You ask me how to do it? I'll tell you right away, the procedure varies slightly depending on the version of Windows in use.
- Download Windows 10click here Start button (the one with the Windows flag at the bottom left of the taskbar), then click on the icon Settings (the one with the gear) in the menu that appears and selects devices in the window that opened on the desktop. Then select the item AutoPlay on the left and leads up Disabled the switch at the top.
- If you are using Windows 8 / 8.x, 7 or Vistaclick here Start button found at the bottom left of the taskbar, open the Control Panel looking for it in the Start Screen or in menu Start that opens (depends on the version of Windows used), search autoplay using the appropriate bar at the top of the window that has opened and select the relative icon and then remove the check from the box Use AutoPlay for all media and all devicesi who stands up and presses the button Save down.
Obviously, in all cases you can always and in any case retrace your steps and enable AutoPlay simply by going back to the OS settings as seen together above and activating the relative option (in the case of Windows 10 the switch must be brought up On, while in the case of other versions of Windows the box next to the item must be checked Use AutoPlay for all media and all devices).