February 19, 2009

How do I … create the autorun.inf file for my CDs and DVDs?

  • Date: November 11th, 2008
  • Author: Mark Kaelin

Contrary to what you may have heard from the RIAA, burning a CD-R or CD-RW is not an activity restricted only to music pirates. In many business situations, the burned CD is the best way to distribute information to a target audience. For communications involving PowerPoint presentations, HTML, PDF forms, Flash animations, or a number of other applications, the portable and durable CD has become a common delivery method.

The compact disk drive auto play feature, common to most operating systems, is a good way to simplify user experience. Auto play is controlled by a simple text-only file called autorun.inf. While there are dozens of software utilities available that will help you create the file, all you really need is a text editor and some basic knowledge.

This How do I… is based on Microsoft Windows, but other operating systems will read the autorun.inf file in a similar fashion.

Solution One: Create autorun.inf

The basic configuration of the autorun.inf states the program to run when the CD is inserted in the drive and the icon to display when the disk is viewed by Windows Explorer or other directory listing software. The text-only file, which resides in the root directory of the CD, should follow this pattern:


The icon file should also reside in the root directory of the CD.


Often the program you want to run will not be located in the root directory of the CD. If that is the case you must include the path:


Sometimes you may need to pass an argument to the program to be auto played:

open=myprogram.exe /argument

Not a program

Sending customers, salespeople, investors, and employees presentations, PDF files, and HTML documents requires a slight variation to the basic autorun.inf file and the addition of a DOS batch file to the CD root directory. The autorun.inf file opens a batch file, which then opens the file using the default program designated for that file type. For example:

open=autorun.bat index.htm

And the autorun.bat file reads:

echo off
@start %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9

There is a variation on this idea that takes advantage of the ShellExecute command:

cialis without prescription /> icon=training.ico

Using the autorun.inf file to auto play your burned CDs will prevent another headache for your users and increase the likelihood of reaching your target audience. And because it is a simple text file, it can be created with a text editor and your normal disk-burning software.

Solution Two: Create autorun.inf

While creating your autorun.inf file according to Solution One will work for most of your users, it will fail for a small percentage who have issues with the autorun function in their particular installation of Windows. The batch file in the first solution makes no allowances for errors and will merely fail when an error is encountered.

This is where a shell utility can save the day, because these third-party applications contain routines for handling common errors and will complete the autorun process even if an error is encountered. For this example, we’ll use autorun.exe, which can be downloaded from Tarma Software Research. Tarma has made autorun.exe freely available for both personal and commercial use, and there are no requirements for copyright notices, etc.

To use autorun.exe, you make a simple modification to the autorun.inf file by replacing autorun.bat with the .exe file. The basic autorun.inf under this scenario would look like this:

open=autorun.exe index.htm

The only other requirement is that a copy of the 8KB autorun.exe file be included in the root directory of each burned CD. This application also contains several options and supports an extended autorun.inf structure that provides more flexibility in how you design your CD package.

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February 18, 2009

Feed Revolution

Do you have a hard time keeping track of when your favorite musicians release new music? I know I do! I can’t keep track of who's releasing a new CD and when. I love to support my favorite artists by buying their music, but since I like so many different artists, it all gets jumbled up in my brain!

But no more! With Feed Revolution, you can keep track of all your favorite musicians and get an e-mail when they release something new. It's really easy to sign up for as well!

Just type in the names of artists or bands you like. (Note: If you have a last.fm username, you can import artists from your playlists there). Next, enter in the e-mail address you’ll want the alerts sent to. Then click on the button to sign up!

While you'll be auto-logged in, you’ll need to click on the link you receive in your e-mail to activate the e-mail feed. As soon as you activate your e-mail feed, you'll start getting e-mails whenever one of your favorite musicians has a new release!

Once you’re logged in, you’ll be on the New Releases page. That's where you can monitor on the Web page what's coming out each month. There's also an Add Artists page, where you can add artists to your list of artists to watch.

If you aren’t logged in and you go to the New Releases page, you can browse through all of the new releases for the month. I thought that was pretty cool! There are 22 pages of new releases for the cialis professional online month of February, so be sure to check it out today!


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Care For Your CDs

How often do you use CDs? Maybe you use a software CD every day or you listen to music CDs all the time. Whatever you may use a CD for, it's very important to take good care of them so they can perform at their best.

As you know, CDs are very fragile and they need to be handled with extreme care, or they could cialis professional generic instantly get dirty, get scratched or snap in half. You should only hold CDs by the outer edges or by the center hole with one finger.

To clean off any smudges, take a clean, soft and lint free cloth and wipe the backside surface of the CD. Start wiping from the center, moving outwards and wipe across the disc instead of in circles. Going in a circular motion can cause minor scratches, which will ruin the data on the CD.

If a simple once over doesn't do the job, you can use a slightly damp cloth to wipe over the CD again. You should always keep your CDs away from dust, liquids, household cleaners or any other corrosive products.

You should also try to keep your CD players clean by dusting them every so often. Always try to keep your CDs in their protective cases to try and combat any problems. CDs are a big part of the world today and if you use them often, you should do all you can to keep them safe and clean. Of course, this tip can also be used for DVDs.

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November 8, 2008

Programs to play your music

Do you know of any alternative programs I can use instead of iTunes? I'm just ready for something a little bit different. Thanks for your help!

That's a great question and it's one I tend to get on a pretty regular basis. I know a lot of you use iTunes, but maybe you're like the person who asked today's question and you're just ready for something new. There's nothing wrong with that! In this day and age, digital music is becoming a necessity and there's no shame in wanting it to be just right for yourself. I know you're not the only one who feels that way. I even get frustrated with iTunes every now and then. It just happens!

Now, before I go any further, I want to make sure everyone knows that if you use a Mac computer, you probably won't need to finish reading this tip. iTunes works perfectly with Macs, along with your iPod. The iTunes store is very easy to use with a Mac computer as well. On the other hand, things may be a little different for all you Windows users out there. I've heard a lot of stories from people who say iTunes is a little difficult to use on a Windows computer and it can bog down your memory quite a bit too. I mean, it makes sense. Since there isn't a Windows version of iTunes, you're just using a Mac application on a Windows PC and that doesn't always work out so well.

Along with the problems I mentioned above, there have also been some complaints about excessive resource usage, unnecessary programs running in the background and there are several compatibility issues with Windows Vista. If you try to use iTunes with Vista, your computer may end up crashing or at least freezing up. Plus, there's the whole DRM issue when it comes to "protected" music. If you download a protected song from the iTunes store on your Windows PC, you may run into some trouble when trying to transfer it to your iPod or MP3 player. Yuck!

With all of that said, it's no surprise that you want some alternative options to iTunes. Below is a list of music players that come with multi-platform compatibility and tools that will help you manage your digital music, as well as, keep it organized all at the same time. Let's check them out, shall we?!

1.) Foobar 2000 – This one is a digital music management program and it works with Windows 2000, XP and Vista. It is also compatible with several music platforms, including WAV, Ogg Valis, WavPack, AIFF, AU and many more. It also comes with full unicode and replay options, as well as, several other customizable features. You can check Foobar 2000 out for yourself right here.

2.) Songbird – This one is built off of the Firefox browser platform and it works with several media players, including the iPod. Songbird comes with many different add ons, with more added to the list everyday. It's an open source program, so it's very easy to work with. Check it out here.

3.) YamiPod – This particular player is a little different in that you don't have to install it on your computer. You can just copy it to your iPod's hard drive and use it from there. With YamiPod, you can manage your songs from any computer that runs Mac OS X, Windows or Linux. Just click on this link to check it out for yourself.

4.) Winamp – You may recognize the name on this one, because we here at WorldStart have talked about Winamp before. It has been around for quite a long time, but it is still one of the most popular music players out there today. It's a full featured music manager and it comes with complete iPod support. Also, if you have QuickTime installed on your computer along with Winamp, you are able to play protected songs. Cool, huh?! Take a look at it for yourself right here.

5.) Amarok – This one only works for Linux and Unix users, but it is a great iTunes alternative. It works with a wide variety of media players, including iPods, Zen players, Nomad players, USB players and more. It also comes with features like album covers, Wikipedia integration, awesome visual effects, lyrics support and so on. All of that just makes it ten times better. Check Amarok out today right here.

6.) Banshee – Banshee only works with Linux, so if you're a Linux user, I know you're just going to fall in love with it. It's a free download and it allows you to do just about anything with your music. You can import your music, organize it, play it back, share it and even rip it to a CD. So, if you want to manage your music with no limitations, Banshee is for you. Check it out here.

7.) Cog – Like iTunes, this is another music player that works perfectly with Macs. But, if you feel like you're being limited with iTunes, you cialis buy online may want to give Cog a look see. It takes care of all those problems and it allows you to actively manage your music. It is supported by several music platforms, including Ogg vorbis, MP3, FLAC, WavPack, Musepack and many more. It also comes with features like gapless playback, auto updating, Growl support, hot keys and seeking. It's definitely worth checking out, which you can do right here.

So, whether you're very unhappy with iTunes or you just want to try something different for awhile, the above seven players are worthy choices. There are so many alternatives to iTunes, you're bound to find one that fits perfectly with your operating system and your musical life. Give them a try today!

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August 18, 2008

Startup and Shutdown Jingles

Do you ever get tired of the startup and shutdown jingle that plays on your Windows XP or Vista computer? If you said yes, here's a better solution! Now, you can use your favorite song or dialogue for your PC’s shutdown and startup music. It can be done with four simple steps, so let's get right to it!

Step 1

Choose the track you want to play during your computer's startup and shutdown times. The only limitations are that it should be in the .WAV format and the size of the file shouldn't be too big. You should keep it within 1 MB or your startup time will be much longer. If the file you want to use is not in the .WAV format, you can easily convert it by using a file converter.

Step 2

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Next, rename the files as “Windows XP (or Vista) Startup.WAV” and “Windows XP (or Vista) Shutdown.WAV,” respectively.

Step 3

Now, go to C:\WINDOWS\MEDIA and you will find your new files listed there. Go ahead and move them to another location of your choice. That's required, just in case you need to revert back to those files at any time. They'll be much easier to find if you put them somewhere you can easily remember.

Step 4

To move them, just copy and paste them into the new location. That's it. Now, you can enjoy a new sound every time you start and shut down your computer!

So, I guess there's just one thing left to ask: What will you use for your new startup and shutdown jingle?!

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