Autorun.inf and The Windows Drive Icon & Label

The Windows autorun.inf file is a simple text-based configuration file that is used on custom USB drives to set the drive icon and Windows label when the media is inserted into a computer.

This is achieved through the use of the “label” value within the autorun.inf file. The label value helps users easily identify the content or purpose of the media, making it more user-friendly and recognizable.

For example, consider an autorun.inf file with the following content:

label=My Custom USB Drive

When this USB drive is inserted into a computer, Windows Explorer displays “My Custom USB Drive” as the label for the drive, rather than the default label assigned by the operating system. It also displays the my_icon.ico file as the icon next to he drive in a 64 pixel square box.

Autorun is Dead! Long Live Autorun!

It is important to note that the Autorun functionality is no longer supported industry-wide. This is primarily due to security concerns, as malicious software could exploit the Autorun feature to automatically execute harmful programs on a user’s computer without their knowledge or consent. However, modern operating systems have built-in safeguards to prevent the automatic execution of programs from removable media, rendering the Autorun functionality ineffective.

Although the Autorun feature has been deprecated, the autorun.inf file is still used the set the Windows Label on custom flash drives.