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Autorun.inf should be phased out?

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NathanJ79
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Autorun.inf should be phased out?

Hello all,

I've seen some funny behavior on a computer I use PortableApps on. Trend Micro OfficeScan, following (presumably) an update, now goes bat **** crazy on Autorun.inf (Windows XP machine, but it got the KB update that disabled autorun on rewritable removable devices, so it normally doesn't use autorun.inf anyway, except to show the device name/icon in My Computer (which, ironically, still do show up). It does this every time the drive is connected. Can't even delete autorun.inf to make it not do that, at least until I can get it home.

Maybe the PortableApps.com Platform shouldn't be putting an autorun.inf drive in the device's root? Windows 7 is gaining ground, and even though the majority of the Internet still uses Windows XP, most XP users use Windows Update and would have that update. I'd bet there are fewer people using an OS that can autoplay rewritable removable devices than people using an OS that can't, by a pretty wide margin. And I do remember when XP got that update, a lot of regulars here agreed it was the right decision.

A better way, going forward, in my opinion, would be for the platform to be able to "drop" a "listener" on the host PC, carrying with it a warning to only do so on a computer you own or have permission to install software to (e.g. not work or school) if anything.

John T. Haller
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Removing Start

We'll be removing the start option in the next release (which is what used to run stuff) but using autorun.inf for drive name and icon. That should prevent any freakouts. A good percentage of commercial drives will arrive with autorun.inf already installed, so I highly doubt it would prevent any connection.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

NathanJ79
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...

Oh, it isn't preventing connection, it's just raising holy hell every time I browse to the root folder of the drive or connect it after a (clean, of course) disconnect.

I wonder if Trend Micro would still go crazy if the Autorun.inf file didn't contain the start command. Because you're right, a lot of portable drives do come with the file.

I'll edit the Autorun.inf file and take out the command that launches the .exe and see if that helps. But I won't be back on this computer (after getting to a computer that will let me touch the file) until Friday night. If it still acts up, then it's just Trend Micro and that'll be something to deal with on the case-by-case, the occasional user reporting it.

And it could also just be a local policy the sysadmin put in on their own. Like for example spybot.exe and winamp.exe are disallowed (the only two I've found -- other media players work fine, including VLC, Mplayer, Smplayer, CoolPlayer, etc.). But I don't know. Trend Micro (the app) won't be any more specific with me and I don't want to go poking around in it TOO much...

AlleyKat
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Avira

Avira Antivir does a bit of the same - blocks execution of the autorun file, althou just with a popup warning (once in the free version, usually twice for some reason in the professional version). Not a problem and probably configurable somewhere in the interface, so far I've just ignored it when I ran into it.

NathanJ79
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...

John, I just wanted to clarify, that even with the Open and Action lines removed (so, only Icon and Label remain) Trend Micro *still* goes batspit crazy over Autorun.inf.

It does it when the drive is first plugged in, it does it when I open My Computer (however, it does accept and show the icon and label -- I intentionally changed both for testing purposes), and it does it when I browse to the root of the drive.

Naturally, I'll be removing the file on my own installation.

In keeping with the assumed goals of the Platform being accessible to people of all skill level, I would advise that the autorun.inf file not be included in future versions, simply because PortableApps.com is suggesting that drives running the suite/platform/apps can be run on any Windows computer, and seeing corporate antivirus throw a fit would be distressing to newcomers. Me? I'm like, "oh, hey, it doesn't like that. neat." and I know what to do to make it happy. A newbie? Not so much. And yes, many new drives come with an autorun.inf file, and people who use the Platform are gonna get new drives. And their home computer isn't gonna care about the autorun.inf file. Nor is it gonna care when they install PortableApps.com's platform and apps, or the suite. But when they take it to work or school, who are they gonna blame when corporate antivirus goes nuts on 'em? I'm not saying it's right, and I'll grant you that it's not entirely fair, but I will bet 9 out of 10 novices will blame PortableApps.com for "putting something on their drive" that "got them in trouble at work", as not-entirely-accurate as both of those statements are.

But I'm still in favor of customizing the autorun.inf file, an idea I brought up a couple years ago. An optional page in the setup of the platform or suite that can be skipped, but would allow the user to specify the drive label and choose an icon (and you could put that on the same screen as the option to set the portable homepage). Well, add an option to include an autorun.inf at all, with default unchecked, and all the options replaced by the warning, that the autorun.inf will provide quick access on Windows 98 and Windows 2000, but on corporate (school/work) computers it's liable to cause minor problems. I think a lot of users would just leave it unchecked. But then you run into the problem of novices not being able to easily access StartPortableApps.exe, but you've had that problem since Windows XP got the update to disallow the Open command for hard drives (and Vista and Win7 never had the option at all). So now the same problem is a little worse. For some possible use cases.

Kevin Paul
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So, can I delete my

So, can I delete my autorun.inf file from the drive root?

I got a virus through an autorun.inf, and it's transmitted from thumb drives to computer to other removable drives. Since they kept reappearing after virus scan deletions, I did what Microsoft recommends and disabled autorun on my PC. From what I understand, the reason Windows 7 has it disabled by default is because of the increasing risk.

Can I make the PA platform autorun.inf file go bye-bye?

John T. Haller
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Disabled Universally

Autoplay (via autorun.inf) is disabled universally from XP through Windows 7 now with the updates Microsoft released this month. So the virus issues should be gone.

On USB drives, autorun.inf is still useful for setting a custom icon (so it's always easily found in Explorer) and a custom name (longer than 11 all-caps chars used by FAT32).

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

NathanJ79
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Video

I've since found a variation on this issue. I no longer keep an AUTORUN.INF file on my drive, but trying to rename the drive via the Platform also sets off Trend Micro, because it's creating an AUTORUN.INF.

Since then I got CamStudio Portable. Sorry about the red border around the cursor, that was a stupid setting to use, and I didn't want to do it again as running CamStudio taxed that poor P4, got its fan spinning on turbo and all. It's a Dell, so instead of a CPU fan, it's got that green manifold over the heatsink leading up to the front fan. It's a mess.

Bonus: In 720p, you can see the magenta corners around the menu. You can kinda see something there in 480, but it's a little clearer in 720p. (Loads fast at any size on any connection; the source video is like 1.2MB.)

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