Creating an AutoRun-enabled CD-ROM Application

AutoRun is a feature of the Microsoft Windows operating system. It automates the procedures for installing and configuring products designed for Windows-based platforms that are distributed on CD-ROMs. When users insert an AutoRun-enabled compact disc into their CD-ROM drive, AutoRun automatically runs an application on the CD-ROM that installs, configures, or runs the selected product. If you want your CD-ROM product to display the Windows 95 logo, it must be enabled for AutoRun.

AutoRun can be used to install and run CD-ROM applications written for Microsoft MS-DOS, Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1, and all 32-bit versions of Windows. Although AutoRun is most commonly used for Windows applications, it can also be used to install, configure, or run MS-DOS-based applications in a WindowsMS-DOS session. You can configure each MS-DOS-based application with its own unique icon, Config.sys file, and Autoexec.bat file. Windows creates the correct configuration files for the MS-DOS-based application. The startup application then starts the MS-DOS-based application in a window.

There are two essential requirements that a system must meet in order for AutoRun to work.

  • The system must be running Windows 95, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, or later versions. MS-DOS, Windows versions 3.1 and earlier, and Windows NT versions 3.51 and earlier do not support AutoRun. You can use AutoRun-enabled CD-ROMs in such systems. However, the AutoRun features will be ignored, and the CD-ROMs will behave as ordinary CD-ROMs.
  • The CD-ROM drive must have 32-bit device drivers that detect when a user inserts a compact disc and notify the system. Device drivers for MS-DOS or 16-bit versions of Windows do not have this feature.

The following sections discuss how to implement an AutoRun-enabled CD-ROM application.