|XP is the last operating system where you can hold the shift key down then pop the DVD in and it will not run. This will save you having to hack your way out of it.|
The next step is to right click the DVD icon then select "Explore" from the drop-down. You will then be able to browse the disk.
I don't know the answer to your second question about what makes it play automatically. My best guess is buried in VIDEO_TS.IFO (the disk runs the menu when you click on it) but someone else might put know better.
Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks