APUSB 47 1.1 is a tiny free tool which restores the AutoRun function for USB drives and other non-optical media in Windows 7 and 8.
Microsoft removed this ability because it was easily abused by malware to infect your PC, so whether you really want to install it is open to question. If you ever insert a USB drive which has been connected to an untrusted PC (a system you can't guarantee 100% is virus-free) then the answer is probably no. But if, say, the USB drive is only ever connected to two or more of your own systems, and no-one else will ever plug another drive into those computers, then it may be useful.
Once you've made the decision to use the program, everything else is much more straightforward. Install APUSB, and it runs in the background, waiting for devices to be connected. Plug in a USB drive and it opens any AutoRun.inf file, then executes it for you.
If you need to close APUSB then you can do so with a right-click on its system tray icon.
And if you'd like to test this for yourself, just copy an executable file to a USB drive, and create a sample AutoRun.inf file. It should look something like this:
Please note, the APUSB installer applies multiple tricks to try and get you to install various browser addons and toolbars. We needed to clear a checkbox on one screen, choose an option and clear several checkboxes on another, deal with a pop-up dialog for a third. They can all be avoided, but you must pay close attention during the setup process.
Version 1.2 brings:
- Support for executing program from a local drive (Example: open=c:\folder\program.exe)
- Adds the option to confirm before executing autorun.inf
APUSB is extremely easy to use: install and run it, and AutoRun is immediately re-enabled for USB devices. This can be a significant security issue, though, so only use it with USB drives and computers which you can 100% guarantee are virus-free.