Stupid, Stupid Windows XP and CDROMs

While I don’t use XP all the time, I use it enough to know it sucks slightly less than some of it’s compediters. However, last night something came up that really made me go “hmmm.” Actually it was more like “%$@$$#@ XP POS mother @#$^%@@!!!!!”, but that’s not the point.

I’ve finally gotten around to starting to rip all my CDs to ogg vorbis. I have also started submitting the CD IDs to the musicbrainz server. Basically you put in an audio CD, the (windows) software reads and creates a unique CD ID number for that CD, lets you associate it with song information (or get it from freedb or enter it yourself), and then stores it so that the information is there should someone want to look up that same CD.

This is a long and boring process involving putting a CD in the drive, clicking the “Submit CD” button, and then either ejecting the CD (if the CD ID is in there already) or searching for the artist and album, clicking submit, and then ejecting the CD.

XP, in all it’s glory and wisdom, pops up a dialog when you put in a CD, asking what you’d like to do:

  • Play the CD
  • Copy music from the CD
  • Open the folder
  • Take No Action
  • [x] always do this

I of course, not wanting to be pissed off, selected the last option, Take No Action. I thought that this would mean that XP would not pop up the dialog every time. However, in actual fact it means “pop up the same dialog each time, with the ‘take no action’ option highlighted.”

At least other OSs do things differently.

  • Mac OS/X – play the CD regardless of what you want
  • Linux – do nothing, as you have to know some cryptic command to just access it [1]
  • Windows 9x – crash immediately


[1] Actually, redhat 9 just starts to play the CD. If you put in a CD with both audio and data on it it is smart enough to ask you if you’d like to view the CD or play it.

5 Comments on “Stupid, Stupid Windows XP and CDROMs”

  1. I just looked this up and then tried it. Works for me! ™
    Openb windows explorer and locate your cd-rom drive. right click on it and then choose properties. Next choose the Autoplay tab. In the Autoplay tab there is a drop down, choose Music CD in the drop down. Then simply set the radio button to “Select an action to perform” and choose “Take no action”.
    This prevented the annoying behaviour you described on my system but leaves autoplay enabled for other types of cds.

  2. Yep, I think bear is right, which makes the problem not that the option does not exist, but that XP (and windows in general) has the most screwed up way of configuring things. Is it in the control panel? Is it in a right-click-properties? Is it in the program itself? Is it in a separate application?
    Other OS’s solve this problem elegently: The right-click is for frequently-used items, not as a the only way to get the properties of an item. I was using Active Directory stuff the other day, and using the right-click-properties for EVERY LITTLE THING was a huge problem.

  3. Yea, but the point is that it should have set that option when I selected said option from the pop up! I shouldn’t have to go and select it again from somewhere else. Coming from a non-techy perspective, this makes no sense at all, and leads one to throw their computer out the window.

  4. It get’s worse. I “upgraded” to XP Pro and all of my setting were stripped. Now it will not even let me tell it to “take no action” if the content type is pictures. The Apply button is greyed out.

  5. Start, Run, GPEDIT.MSC Computer Configuration, Administrative
    templates, System, Turn off autoplay.
    To Disable cD autoplay, completely, in Windows XP Pro
    1) Click Start, Run and enter GPEDIT.MSC
    2) Go to Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, System.
    3) Locate the entry for Turn autoplay off and modify it as you desire.