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AutoRun, and its companion feature AutoPlay, are components of the Microsoft Windows operating system that dictate which actions the system takes when a drive is mounted.

AutoRun is a specification which was introduced in Windows 95 with AutoPlay officially introduced in Windows XP. As developers often used the former term and users the latter, there can be some confusion about which term refers to what functionality.

When a CD-ROM is inserted into a CD-ROM drive, Windows may perform an initial action as designated on the media according to the AutoRun specification. An example would be launching an installation program. AutoPlay is the feature that can detect content on the CD-ROM, or indeed any removable media, and give the user options based on the media type of files found.


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