Make an autorun cd show a web document on autoplay…



There’s a utility called Thumbs that looks like a good quick way to make a cd launch a web documented on autoplay in Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/ …Of course, autoplay under windows is fairly easy to setup. If you have a program on the disk you can just have autorun.inf in the root directory of the cd and in that you can specify WHAT program to autorun. The problem with html documents on a disk is telling the computer how to run it. (Yes you can adjust the icon as well.)


I vaguely remember doing this once before, but the problems I ran into were that you had to assume that you knew the drive letter of the cd drive (D: is not always a correct assumption.) Anyway, THUMBS looks like a good, easy solution. The advantage (of course) with a html page auto-launched is that we can do most anything… (list of photos/thumbnails – a link to browse the disk, links to external websites, resume, etc….) Of course, in this context could we think of autoplay as a security risk? I would think so… I can think of a few ways someone could carefully use this feature to their advantage (of course someone would have to put the cd in…)

Also, it’s worth noting the above is Windows only autorun. I’ve not looked into ways of doing this on a Mac.

However, there is another way to approach this…. From this site, we have a nice overview of enabling/disabling autorun (in general) as well as doing cds with an autorun.inf…
First is the classic example:

[autorun]
open=setup.exe
icon=snazzie.ico

The article goes on to explain…

Until recently, it was not possible for Windows to AutoRun a file rather than a program.
OK, that’s not strictly true: you could use the following AUTORUN.INF to show web page index.htm

[autorun]
open=start index.htm

However, if you do this, Windows displays a DOS box briefly, which looks nasty. (And start might not be available on some systems.)

If you are only targeting recent Windows systems, then you can use the shellexecute command to open a file without a flickering DOS box:

[autorun]
shellexecute=index.htm

further….

ShellRun overcomes the above problems. It shows your file and displays a neat popup window. The popup appears straight away so that the user knows that something is happening. ShellRun works in all Windows systems.

This example AUTORUN.INF tells ShellRun to show web page index.htm while displaying message “Starting CD now…” in the ShellRun popup window.

[autorun]
open=ShellRun.exe index.htm Starting CD now…

Do not forget to put ShellRun.exe in the root directory of your CD along with AUTORUN.INF

They are referring to ShellRun.exe which is part of a free download from this site.

The bottom line though, we can’t “force” a cd to autoplay, it may be disabled for a variety of reasons, the user may have a “limited user” account, etc…. for those reasons there should be instructions on accessing the desired first file on the disc as well.

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