You can use AutoPlay on Windows 10 to quickly open removable drives or import media automatically, and here we show you how to properly configure the feature.

AutoPlay is a simple and convenient feature that allows you to choose the action that Windows 10 should take whenever you insert a removable drive (e.g., USB flash drive, memory card, or CD/DVD) or device to your computer.

When you insert a removable drive or device, AutoPlay detects it and automatically opens the media with a default action. However, if you find the default actions inadequate, you can either change the settings or disable the feature altogether.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to change the AutoPlay defaults or disable the feature using the Settings app and Control Panel.

How to enable or disable AutoPlay

Although you can enable or disable AutoPlay in a number of different ways, including using Control Panel, Windows 10 offers an easier way using the Settings app.

  1. Use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
  2. Click Devices.
  3. Click AutoPlay.
  4. Turn on or off the "Use AutoPlay for media and devices".

How to change the AutoPlay default settings

Also, in the Settings app, you can quickly pick the default AutoPlay actions when inserting removable media and devices.

Removable drive offers the following options from the drop-down menu:

  • Configure this drive for backup (File History)
  • Configure storage settings (Settings)
  • Take no action
  • Open folder to view files (File Explorer)
  • Ask me every time

Memory card offers a slightly different set of options, as this kind of removable media is typically used on phones and cameras:

  • Import photos and videos (Photos)
  • Import photos and videos (OneDrive)
  • Play (Windows Media Player)
  • Take no action
  • Open folder to view files (File Explorer)
  • Ask me every time

These are just general settings, when you connect another kind of devices, such as your Lumia phone or music player, you'll see an additional drop-down menu to control AutoPlay per device.

Quick Tip: Regardless of the action set you choose, you can always press and hold the Shift key while inserting the storage media to open the AutoPlay menu.

How to configure more specific AutoPlay default settings

The Settings app on Windows 10 allows you to set a select number of options for AutoPlay. If you want to set more specific options, you'll need to use Control Panel.

  1. Use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select Control Panel.
  2. Click Hardware and Sound.
  3. Click AutoPlay.

  4. In Control Panel, you can be more specific on how the operating system handles AutoPlay. For example, you can choose what to do when the removable drive contains another type of media (e.g., pictures, videos, music, or mixed media).

    In addition to the same options you can select using the Settings app, you can also define how AutoPlay handles Blu-ray discs, CD/DVDs, software, and other media.

    Once you select your configuration, click Save to commit the changes.

Also, note that at the bottom of the AutoPlay settings, you'll find a button to reset all defaults, which is an option missing in the Settings app.

While you can always insert and start using a removable media on your computer right away, AutoPlay is just another way Microsoft is including in Windows 10 (and in previous versions) to save you some extra clicks.

Do you use AutoPlay on Windows 10? What are your default options? Tell us in the comments below.

More Windows 10 resources

For more help articles, coverage, and answers on Windows 10, you can visit the following resources: