How do I get AutoPlay to import photos from a flash drive?

Normally when you plug in your camera or the memory card the AutoPlay program on your PC will automatically start the photo import routine. If you use an USB drive or adapter this might not happen.

This article provides detailed instructions for checking your PC and setting it up so that the import routine will start when you plug in a USB device or memory card that has photos on it.

This will work on PCs running Windows 7 and earlier versions. This will not work on Windows 8.1 – just forget about AutoPlay on Windows 8.1, it isn’t ready for prime time yet.

First make sure that the external media is recognized.

  • Plug in your USB device or memory card. Listen for the sound that tells you that the PC has recognized something being plugged in.
  • Check Windows Explorer to make sure that the device is listed under Computer.

If this part does not work you have a problem beyond the scope of this article.

Second make sure that AutoPlay is properly set.

  • Click the Start button and type autoplay
  • The AutoPlay program will show up in the start menu already selected (highlighted). Press Enter to start it.
  • Take a look in the AutoPlay window near the top. There is a checkbox with this text: “Use AutoPlay for all media and devices”. If this box is not checked, click it so that it is checked.


  • Click the Save button.
  • Now try and see if your external device is recognized and causes AutoPlay to start.

Chanced are that the PC will behave just as it did before and the media does not start AutoPlay.

To get your PC to start AutoPlay for an USB device or memory card you will need to do a bit of “brain surgery”. What we will do next is to modify a setting in the “registry”. Read this article through first. If you are reluctant to dig this deep into the inner workings of your computer don’t feel bad. Things can go wrong and it is possible to do harm. This is brain surgery on your PC. Just get an expert friend to help you, or take your machine to your friendly computer shop.

If you feel that you can handle the process go ahead and “scrub in”.

Setting your PC to start AutoPlay for USB or other devises

imageHere are step by step instructions with illustrations along the way to guide you.

  • Click the Start button and type regedit
  • In the Registry Editor window click the Edit link.

  • In the dropdown menu click Find…

There will be an additional Find dialog window.

  • In the text entry box type NoDriveTypeAutoRun


  • Click Find Next

You will see a message “Searching the registry” – it will take a while to complete this search. When the search is finished you will see something like the illustration below.


There will be an entry that we searched for and it will be selected (highlighted).

  • Double-click on the highlighted entry.

A new little dialog window will come up.


The “Value data:” will likely be “ff” as shown in the illustration. The value will be selected so you can cjange it by just typing the new value.image

  • Type 91 as the new value.
  • Click OK

The change dialog will close and the new value, 0x00000091 (145) will show in the registry data area.

  • Close the Registry Editor

That’s it. You have completed the brain surgery. You can take of your mask now, smile at the nurse and go on to the next details.

Final details

  • Restart your computer
  • When the computer has come up, plug in your device

imageNow momentarily after the beep you should see the AutoPlay dialog.

  • Cheer, clap your hands
  • In the AutoPlay dialog click the checkbox “Always do this for pictures:”
  • Then click Import pictures and videos using Photo Gallery

There may be a number of other option as illustrated here. Yours will be different from mine. The important thing to remember is that the Photo Gallery importer is the very best one available. None of the others do as good a job, give you the variety of options, or make it as easy.

After you click Import pictures and videos using Photo Gallery the normal import process will start. It will start that way in the future whenever you plug in your device.

If this solves your problem, do me a favor and let me know with a comment below.


© 2013 Ludwig Keck

Why is there a shield on my Shutdown button?

Once in a while an automatic update runs in the background on your computer imageand it now needs a shutdown or restart to complete the installation. Windows provides this little warning on the Shut down button in the Start menu.

You can get a bit more information on this when you move the pointer to the button.


This is not an alarm, but do heed the advice and shut down or restart the computer when you take a break. Pat yourself on the back for having set up your machine to perform updates automatically.


© 2011 Ludwig Keck

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

How do I superimpose a photo on another one?

There are many tools to combine images and many ways. For adding, superimposing, one photo over another, a quick and easy method is to use the collage tool in Picasa. Here is an example: SP-01I have a photo of a tree covered in fruit. It is hard to discern the detail so I want to superimpose a close-up.

Picasa has a “Create Photo Collage” tool right under the folder name in Library view. The tool can also be launched from the Create menu where it is called “Picture collage …”. If you click the button, all of the photos in the folder will be loaded. If you want just some of the pictures select them (Ctrl+click) before launching the collage tool.

To use one photo as the base and to superimpose one or more others, first set the aspect ratio of the collage. SP-02My camera produces images in the 35mm camera aspect ratio of 1 to 1.5, so I select the “4 x 6: Small print” setting. This way the base picture will not get cropped. The “Picture Borders” setting allows putting a border on each of the superposed images. Click on the image to use as the base to select it, then under “Background Options” click “Use Image”.

The base photo will now fill the collage area and all selected photos will be superimposed. Since the small version of the base image is not needed, right-click it and select Remove. SP-03This will leave just the image or images that should be placed on the base photo. In the example here there is just one. It can be dragged to the desired position. Click on the insert image and a four-pointed arrow shape pointer tells that the image can be dragged for positioning. Move the pointer toward the center and a control ring and control handle – a little bulls-eye button – is displayed. drag the control handle sideways and the image is made larger (to right) or smaller (to left). Move it up or down and the image is rotated.SP-05

Really, this operation is faster than you can read about it. In no time at all, you can place the insert photo or photos just the way you want – in size, position, and rotation.

To finish, click “Create Collage” in the controls pane. The collage image will be created and saved. The default file location is in PicturesPicasaCollages. The finished collage will likely be much larger than the original image, so you may wish to resize it.



© 2011 Ludwig Keck