If NoAutoRun.reg doesn’t work, you may need space

Dennis o'reilly By Dennis O’Reilly

The way word-wrapping alters line breaks in some browser windows thwarted a few of our readers’ attempts to disable AutoRun.

If you manually typed a line break where the code requires a space, and you couldn’t get the file to work, a simple change will do the trick.

Windows Secrets contributing editor Woody Leonhard authored a Jan. 22 Top Story on the Conficker/Downadup worm and included a link to a Nov. 8, 2007, article.

That article, by associate editor Scott Dunn, explained how to add a Registry key to block Windows’ AutoRun function. After you do this, if you unknowingly insert a hacked CD, DVD, USB drive, or other external drive, it won’t automatically infect your PC. The technique involves copying and pasting three lines of code into a NoAutoRun.reg file, then right-clicking the file, merging it into the Registry, and rebooting.

One of the lines of code is very long and looks as follows (it’s all one line, but it word-wraps to two lines in small windows):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionIniFileMappingAutorun.inf

Reader Rob Oppenheim wasn’t the only reader who found that merging into the Registry the file he created had no effect, because he’d entered a line break where his e-mail program had word-wrapped that line:

  • “In your [most recent] newsletter, you refer to a Web page that describes how to disable autoruns. The page describes a .reg file with a key that displays broken across two lines (at least on my machine it displays that way). Unfortunately, it’s not obvious that there’s a space in the key; that is, it should be ‘Windows NT’ and not ‘WindowsNT.’

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2009-02-05: