Disable HDD Auto Insert Notification

June 6, 2012 at 10:58:18
Specs: Win 7
I installed 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium over a year ago,
and fiddled with the configuration a lot. Eventually I changed a
setting which ended the annoying once-per-second flashing of
the hard drive activity indicator. I have forgotten what it was,
but it may have been to turn off "autoinsert notification". I did
that on Windows 98 SE. With a Registry tweak IIRC.

I recently did a fresh install of Windows 7 and would like to
stop that flashing again. I don't seem to have instructions for
turning it off among the notes I made on the first install, and
didn't find it in a Google search.

I haven't tried every possible combination of settings, but the
AutoPlay control in Control Panel doesn't appear to turn it off.
Can you tell me how to do it?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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June 6, 2012 at 13:15:55

If not already there, create a new key of type REG_DWORD, named NoDriveTypeAutoRun and set the value to decimal 95

If you're running 64 bit OS, you have to create the same key with the same value under:

Reboot the system.
Should work.

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June 7, 2012 at 02:42:09
Thanks, Paul. A few things:

The Registry key NoDriveTypeAutoRun controls pretty much the
same things as the AutoPlay Control Panel. AutoPlay uses the
information provided by Auto Insert Notification, which is what
I want to shut off.

I see some info about Auto Insert Notification for Windows 95
through Windows XP, but so far I haven't found any that covers
Windows 7. Google does return this hit:

How to disable auto insert notification in Windows 7? - Super User
Sep 25, 2011 – There's no option to disable the auto insert notification
when you go to the device within device manager (there was in XP),
so I got no idea ...

And Google shows a preview of the linked page, including this
snippet of text:

How to disable auto insert notification in Windows 7? 6. Alright,
here's the problem. My hard drive activity light on my custom built
PC is blinking exactly ...

Which appears to be precisely what I want. But the link doesn't
work for me. It times out with nothing downloaded. Although
tells me that it's just me.

Also, your value of "decimal 95" for the NoDriveTypeAutoRun
key appears to be the default HEX value, which enables the
function for some drive types. The value of HEX 95 disables
unknown drives, removable drives, network drives, and sets
the high "reserved" bit, which apparently should always be set.
A value of HEX FF or decimal 255 disables all drive types.

Also, adding or modifying the first key (32-bit) in Regedit
apparently adds or modifies the corresponding 64-bit key

Also, the thread title was changed from what I gave it.
Breaking "AutoInsert" into two separate words was probably
a good idea, but adding "HDD" is misleading, and specifying
"Disable", though accurate, wasn't really necessary or helpful.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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June 7, 2012 at 10:04:45
You haven't found information about Auto Insert Notification for Win7 cause there is no such option in Win7.

Therefore, you have to set the NoDriveTypeAutoRun in the registry.

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June 7, 2012 at 15:33:57
Then maybe it wasn't turning off either Auto Insert Notification or
AutoRun which stopped the once-per-second flashing of the drive
activity light. Something did. I changed something that stopped
the flashing and had it that way for months.

I've turned off everything in the Control Panel AutoPlay settings
and set NoDriveTypeAutoRun to decimal 255, but the light is still
flashing. I read on one web page that unchecking "Use AutoPlay
for all media and devices" on the AutoPlay Control Panel would
also turn off Auto Insert Notification, so that was the first thing I
tried, but it had no effect on the flashing.

The superuser.com site looks like it *might* have info I want, but
I still can't get to it. http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com
continues to tell me that it's just down for me.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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June 7, 2012 at 15:40:59
Have you checked your windows 7 for what get's automatically started and is running in background, that may cause this activity.

You can use msconfig or CCleaner to check that.

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June 7, 2012 at 16:38:38
Nothing runs at startup other than core Windows bits. I did
install DVD player software the other day which loads a bunch
of stuff at startup, but I removed all of those with CCleaner.
The flashing began with installation of Windows 7 on a clean
drive, which I did less than six weeks ago.

I had similar flashing on my first Windows PC when I installed
the software for an HP Laserjet printer under Windows 95. It
was caused by the "monitor" which watched for messages to
or from the printer. I uninstalled it and installed the drivers only.
That ended the flashing. I believe it was also once per second.

I also have installed recent (not current) versions of Ubuntu.
They flash the drive activity light at the same rate. There, too,
I changed a setting which stopped the flashing, but have since
reinstalled it and forgotten what setting I changed. It was not
a hardware change. Between the time I changed settings on
the different operating systems, I had flashing with one but not
the other.

I'm annoyed with myself for not keeping more complete notes
of what I did.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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June 7, 2012 at 17:00:44
It's caused by the CD/DVD.
I just tried it by disabling the DVD drive in device manager and the periodically 1 second flashing stopped. But the services running in backgound do access the hdd lets say every 2 or 3 seconds, which cannot be stopped.
In my case, my Antivirus software do scan every executable files (exe, com, cmd, vbs aso.) when they get touched by a program or a service.

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June 7, 2012 at 18:37:38
Disabling the CD/DVD drive in Device Manager stopped the flashing.
Of course, I don't want the CD/DVD drive disabled! A checkbox in
the Device Manager CD drive dialog in Windows 96 SE (which I have
on an old laptop) enables and disables Auto insert notification for that
device. Similar checkboxes for hard drive partitions are greyed out.

Do you know which services access the drives periodically?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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June 7, 2012 at 19:00:44
You don't really ask that, do you?
Look into the services list.
Just the media center services will do so and I guess alot more services.
Maybe the the file and printer sharing will also access it.

But will you really care on that.
As I mentioned above, if there is antivirus software installed, it may not alway take a look at the CD/DVD but at the hdd, cause of all the services, that do call functions from the system DLL files.
And well then, the LED is flashing.

You can't compare Windows 95/98 with Win7 times.
Windows 95/98 was installed to a 20 Megabye hard drive.

Today, it's not enough space for the windows installer program.

Windows 7 is much more complex, offers more help to the user, provides plug & play and so on.

On Windows 95/98 most things had to be done by yourself, mostly without any help offered by the operating system.

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June 8, 2012 at 02:38:33
Jeff > Do you know which services access the drives periodically?
Paul > You don't really ask that, do you?

I'll ask almost any crazy question.

Paul > Look into the services list.
> Just the media center services will do so and I guess alot more services.
> Maybe the the file and printer sharing will also access it.

I think I've turned off everything Windows Media Center can do
without my clicking on something. File and printer sharing are
completely disabled. No antivirus installed. (I don't do much, if
anything, that would allow a virus to get in. E-mail is plain text,
Windows Firewall is set to block *every* port in both directions,
and I only have a dial-up Internet connection.) But there are still
so many services running or enabled that I wondered what else
you might be referring to that could access the drives at short

One thing I'd like would be for the drive access light to indicate
when a drive is actually being accessed.

A correction to my post-before-last: Both versions of Ubuntu that
are currently installed are configured so that the drive light does
not flash at 1-second intervals. (Or 2-second intervals, either,
which it has also done.)

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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June 8, 2012 at 02:48:04
To re-state the main point: I previously stopped the constant
flashing of the drive activity light under Windows 7 without
disabling the CD/DVD drive, and want to do that again, but
I've forgotten how.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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June 8, 2012 at 07:15:51
Hmmm, to be honest, I've no further idea.
The above is all I can think of.


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