When you insert a removable drive or memory card into a Windows 11 PC, AutoPlay will ask you how you’d like Windows to open the drive or play its media. Here’s how to disable or change how AutoPlay works.

First, open Windows Settings by pressing Windws+i on your keyboard. Or you can right-click the Start button and select the “Settings” option in the list that appears.

When Settings opens, click “Bluetooth & Devices” in the sidebar, then select “AutoPlay.”

In AutoPlay settings, you can configure how AutoPlay works or disable it completely. To turn AutoPlay off, flip the switch under “Use AutoPlay for all media and devices” to “Off.”

Flip the switch beside "Use AutoPlay for all media and devices" to "Off."

If you don’t mind using AutoPlay but want to change how it handles removable drives and memory cards, locate the “Choose AutoPlay Defaults” section, which contains two drop-down menus.

If you click the menu below “Removable Drive,” you’ll see the following options (and possibly others, depending on which programs you have installed.

  • Configure Storage Settings (Settings): This takes you to Storage settings in the Windows Settings app.
  • Take No Action: This means nothing AutoPlay-related will happen when you connect the drive, but you can still find it under File Explorer as usual.
  • Open Folder to View Files (File Explorer): This will automatically open the removable drive you just connected in a File Explorer window.
  • Ask Me Every Time: This will pop up a menu that asks you how you want to handle the newly connected drive.

Pick the option that suits you best.

Just below that, you’ll see the “Memory Card” drop-drop menu. If you click that, you’ll see these options (and possibly others depending on which apps are installed):

  • Import Photos and Videos (Photos): This will automatically copy and import photos and videos stored on the memory card into your Windows 11 Photos app library.
  • Import Photos and Videos (OneDrive): This will copy the memory card’s photos and videos onto your OneDrive cloud storage space.
  • Play (Windows Media Player): This will automatically play media files Windows finds on the memory card in the Windows Media Player app.
  • Take No Action: AutoPlay will not activate when you insert a memory card.
  • Open Folder to View Files (File Explorer): This will show the files stored on the memory card in a File Explorer window.
  • Ask Me Every Time: This will ask you how you’d like to handle the memory card every time you insert one.

Pick the option that matches your personal preference.

When you’re done, close Settings, and the next time you insert a memory card or connect a removable drive, AutoPlay will respond how you’ve configured it. If you ever need to re-enable AutoPlay or tweak the settings, just open Settings and navigate to Bluetooth Devices > AutoPlay again. Good luck!

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Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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