How to Create an AutoRun File

USB AutoRun is the term used when specific, predetermined digital content is automatically launched from your flash drive as soon as it is plugged into a memory port. The content can include items like a web page, interactive menu, multimedia presentation, a document, or an entire application. Creating an autorun USB drive allows for the customization of content as well as the personalization of the title of your flash drive and its auto play setup options.

Flash drive autorun has two primary purposes. First, it helps the user navigate the contents of the device with ease—a menu will quickly display all the drive’s files without any prompting on the user’s part. Second, when the USB drive is distributed as a promotional gift it provides a second layer of marketing on top of the branded exterior. AutoRun can deliver web pages, commercials, or special offers without the risk of users missing it or needing to search the flash drive’s contents on your desktop or My Computer’s settings.

Note: Mac operating systems cannot use AutoRun. It is believed that they do so as a general security measure. Windows Vista and Windows 7 are not initially set up for the command but have the option to manually turn on autorun in the control panel.

If you’re working with a large quantity of flash drives, a custom USB duplication service can quickly handle your autorun needs. However, creating an AutoRun flash drive at home is also possible.


First, open a text/HTML editor such as Notepad. This will provide a clean slate for the creation of code. You will need your executable application or document you are wanting to open (i.e. the files you want to pop up when you insert the drive).

Then type:

Creating a USB AutoRun File

Then, save your file as autorun.inf under the drive’s root directory. Make sure you don’t have any spaces or illegal characters in the file name so they open properly.

You can get a little fancy, too, with adding a company icon or a long label name for the drive:

Creating a USB AutoRun File

You may need to change the .ico file properties to “Hidden” to allow your autorun to work properly on most PC machines so Windows won’t try to open them in a picture viewer.

Creating a USB AutoRun File