Autorun files by Matt Ottewill

Both Macs and PCs can be configured by an end-user to do certain things when a CD or DVD disc is inserted into a drive. This article explains how to create an autorun file.

For example ...

  • DVD video discs The computer may automatically start a DVD player application and access the DVD menu
  • Audio CDs The computer may start iTunes or Windows Media Player
  • CD / DVD ROM discs The computer may open a window displaying the contents of the disc (Start file, red_me.txt file etc), or it may automatically find a program and start it.
  • Do nothing The computer may be configured to do nothing. You have to go and access the disk yourself.

PC .inf autorun files

NOTE: Macs do not use autorun files. In general, an end-user will open and start a CD or DVD ROM program themselves. Therefore, this advice is for creating discs for PC users.

Cross platform discs You can create a cross platform hybrid disc which will require Mac users to open and start the CD or DVD ROM program themselves, but which will autostart on a PC. Click here for advice on cross platform Director project publishing.

A .inf autorun file is a special type of file which can be placed on a CD or DVD ROM. These file are used for 2 purposes ...

  1. To instruct the computer to start an application on stored on the CD or DVDROM
  2. To attach a bitmap icon image file to an application on stored on the CD or DVDROM

To create a .inf autorun file for a D/DVD ROM on a PC

NOTE: You will need a PC to create the .inf autorun file.

You can create an autorun .inf file using a text editor on a PC. Open your editor and type ...

[autorun]
open=application.exe

Substitute the correct file name for "application". If you have created a Director projector you may want to call it "start.exe" or "start_here.exe")

Save the file next to your .exe file and icon naming it "AUTORUN.INF". Windows will create an INF file. (You cannot create one under Mac OS).

To attach icons to Windows 95/98/200/ME files using an autorun file

In addition to getting an .exe file to autorun, you may wish to attach an icon to it. Director developers will want to do this.

Click here for advice on attaching custom icons to Mac OS9, Mac OSX and Windows XP files.

NOTE: You can create your icon on a Mac but you will need a PC to create the .inf autorun file.

You can do this by saving a bitmap of your icon next to your projector and attaching it with an AUTORUN.INF file. Here's how ...

  1. In Photoshop (or another bitmap program) create your icon Click here for advice
  2. Save a copy of your icon as a bitmap on the same level as your .exe file. Remember to name it according to ISO with the ".bmp" extension.
  3. In Windows open any text editor (Notepad will do). Type the following ...
    [autorun]
    open=application.exe
    icon=icon.bmp
    (substitute the correct file name for "application" and "icon" if they differ)
  4. Save the file next to your .exe file and .bmp icon file and name it "AUTORUN.INF". Windows will create an INF file. (You cannot create one under Mac OS).

If you create a hybrid PC & Mac cross platform ISO CD-ROM, the icon will attach itself to your .exe PC program file and it will autorun when the disc is inserted in a PC.