It is good to have autorun feature enabled so that the file will be opened/played automatically once an external storage device such as USB drive or CD/DVD is inserted into PC. However, the autorun feature could be harmful as it can cause your PC get infected by virus easily. To auto execute a file from external storage device, the mechanism is actually controlled by AUTORUN.INF which is located in the root directory of removable media. AUTORUN.INF is a configuration file that contains defined actions which will be executed automatically when the removable media is inserted in a computer. In certain instances, AUTORUN.INF is being modified so that windows will open the malicious file silently once the drive is mounted, which eventually cause your PC to be infected by virus via USB port. Now, there is a free utility named as Panda USB Vaccine which can disable AutoRun completely so that none of the program in external drives can be auto executed to eliminate the risk.
To prevent malicious files executed via AUTORUN.INF, Panda USB Vaccine blocks AUTORUN.INF from being read, created, deleted or modified so that malicious file that is potentially resided in USB drive will not be executed automatically via AUTORUN.INF. Good thing is, it doesn’t affect the normal operation of the drive like copying or transferring files from host to devices or vice versa, but only disable it from opened automatically.
Panda USB Vaccine is compatible to run on Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP SP1/SP2/SP3, Windows Vista SP0/SP1 and works well on FAT/FAT32 USB drives. One thing need to take note here once USB drives has been vaccinated, it cannot be reversed.
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