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  July 31, 2009

End of AutoRun a boost for the promotional USB industry

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Preloading marketing messages onto a USB flash drive that’s being given away as a promotional gift has been standard practice for many years. Unfortunately, the AutoRun feature found in Windows causes the message to load and run every time the drive is inserted.

That’s pretty annoying and has caused marketers to second guess their desire to add promotional messaging to their promo drives.

Thankfully, Microsoft is about to sound the death knell of the AutoRun feature, primarily because malicious programmers have been using it to spread malware and viruses. To stop this practice, Window 7 will stop any AutoRun tasks, so users won’t be tricked into launching apps that could have infectious code.

That means that your USB flash drive recipients won’t have your message load every time they insert the USB drive into their computers and flash drives will be less of a threat for system administrators. Instead, the drive will simply show up as removable drive, without running first.

This is great news for everyone involved. First, recipients will be more likely to use promotional USB flash drives since they don’t have to worry about their computers being tricked into uploading malicious code automatically. Second, your drive will become an invaluable part of the recipient’s daily computer use, since it is such a convenient way to store and share files. Of course we can still pre load your marketing message which can be opened by the receiver as normal, this data can either be erasable or locked.

For those early adopters, the new feature is already available in the RC build of Windows 7. Microsoft is planning to make the chance available on Windows Vista and Windows XP as well, so all of their customers can benefit from the new capabilities that make USB flash drives more useful than ever.