Autorun.inf is the primary instruction file associated with the Autorun function. Autorun.inf itself is a simple text-based configuration file that tells the operating system which executable to start, which icon to use, and which additional menu commands to make available. In other words, autorun.inf tells Windows how to deal open the presentation and treat the contents of the CD or the USB drive.

Autorun defines the following:

  •  The process or application that will automatically run when a disk is inserted
  •  Optionally, one can define the process or application that will run for specific Operating environments. 
  • The icon that will represent your application's Drive when the drive is viewed with My Computer or Explorer.
  • Menu commands displayed when the user right-clicks the Drive icon from My Computer or Explorer.

When a particular application is associated with this file, the autorun.inf executes that application as soon as the user double-click's the drive. This file is not considered as a threat but when it is associated with a virus, it plays an important role in the execution of that virus. Once the virus gets activated, it does not allow the autorun to get deleted. Here are a few simple ways to delete such autoruns containing commands that execute viruses.

Deletion of autorun.inf:

This method should be implemented if you have a suspision of your USB drive containing a virus. 

  1. Go to start --> Run
  2. Type cmd
  3. Go to the USB drive using the cd command or by typing "drive_name:" (without the quotes)
  4. To check the existence of the autorun.inf file, type dir /w/a
  5. The command displays a list of files present in your USB drive. Then type attrib -r -a -s -h to disable all the permissions of every file present in your USB drive
  6. Now type del autorun.inf to delete the file. You can now view the files present in the drive without launching any applications at the double-click.

However, all autorun.inf files are not defected files. When you find a copyrighted cd or a USB containing this file, it means that the file activates the setup or the beggining of the application present in the drive.

Will update soon with more information on autoruns..
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