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Posts Tagged ‘CD programming’

How to create an autorun slideshow

Monday, January 4th, 2010

It's easy to create an Autorun slideshow for yourself!

These days, digital cameras are a common household necessity but with their advent, the practice of printing photos has become almost obsolete. Whilst sharing photos on networking websites and duplicating them onto CDs has become the usual practice, it doesn’t quite have the same personal touch or class as a good old photo album.

So what is the remedy?
How can we make photos personal again?

One of the most popular answers at the moment is to create a slideshow and burn that to CD. The wonderful thing about slideshows is that they can contain music, special effects, annotations and even voiceovers to make a personal, fun, digital age photo album. But to get a really good finish when you duplicate them onto CD for friends, family or even as part of a business idea, it is great to have the slideshow begin automatically when the disc is inserted into the machine. This is called an AutoRun Slideshow and I will be talking about how to create one of these in this article.

In a previous article, I gave instructions for how to make an AutoRun CD, but creating an autorun slideshow is an almost completely different kettle of fish. To program a slideshow to autorun with computer code is actually quite complicated, so I would advise the use of a piece of software to do it for you. There are lots of products on the market at the moment, some of them very expensive and others totally free, but I would recommend AutoRun Slideshow 6.1. It is a very good program with a free three week download so that you can fully test its capabilities before paying for it (a reasonable £18.72 for personal home use).

This program allows an autorun slideshow to be programmed onto your CD at no further bother to you: All you have to do is simply create your slideshow using the software, then copy the file you have made onto the CD. It should be noted that this software only work on Windows machines which run the operating system XP or newer.

The wonderful thing is, it can also be used for professional use (at a slightly higher price) so if you were wanting to use an autorun slideshow for advertisement purposes or as part of a business idea, you can use this program on a CD which can then be duplicated.

Good luck with making your autorun slideshow and duplicating it and have fun sharing your photos around in a personal, fun way!

How to Create an Autorun CD

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Is easy to create an Autorun CD for yourself!

An autorun CD is a CD which will play automatically when you insert it into a computer.  They are also surprisingly easy to create:  All you need to do is to add to your CD an autorun file, a straightforward text file made in notepad, which instructs your computer to start an executable file.

An Autorun CD can be used for many reasons, not least of which for business and advertising purposes:  It looks very professional if when your customer loads a CD into their computer it automatically starts running.  Also, it makes the customers life easier, and ensures that even those people who aren’t very technologically capable can use your CD.  You could even use it to send holiday photos or a home video to a friend or relative who can’t really use a computer!

Depending on what kind of file you are trying to run, you will need to use a different kind of autorun command.  There are two main types:  The first uses the ‘open’ command and will run any file ending in ‘.exe’ – that’s software – and the second is the ‘shellexecute’ command which will open nearly any file in it’s designated application – this is needed for powerpoint presentations, videos and other files that require software to open them.  For photos, you may want to create a slideshow program, instructions for which will follow in a later article.

1.    Creating an autorun file using the ‘open’ command

•      Open ‘Notepad’
•      Write ‘[autorun]’ on the first line
•      Write ‘open=filename.exe’ on the second line
•      Save as ‘autorun.inf’

1.    Creating an autorun file using the ‘shellexecute’ command

•      Open ‘Notepad’
•      Write ‘[autorun]’ on the first line
•      Write ‘shellexecute=filename.filetype’
•      Save as ‘autorun.inf’

NB – The ‘shellexecute’ command was only introduced with Windows 2000 so you will need either that model or a later one to make it work.

Also, for both ‘shellexecute’ and ‘open’ commands there should be no spaces in any of the text in an autorun file.  Instead, replace spaces in filenames with underscores, otherwise the autorun will not work.  And if a file you want to run is inside a folder, then instead of writing simply ‘filename.filetype’ you should write ‘foldername/filename.filetype’.

Some users may have intentionally switched off the autorun option on their machines but this only counts for a small percentage of consumers.

An Extra Little Something

If you have mastered that and want to experiment with something a little fancy, you could try adding a ‘label’ and/or ‘icon’ command to your CD.  These two commands give your disc a personal icon and label in Explorer, which you can make anything you want, so long as you provide the image for the icon too.

•      To add the ‘icon’ command start a new line in the autorun file and type ‘icon=filename.ico’  (.ico files are very simple to make:  All you need to do is create a 30×30 pixel image in MS Paint, then choose to save the file as a .ico file, an option which can be selected from the dropdown menu in the ‘save file’ window.)
•      To add the ‘label’ command start a new line in the autorun file and type ‘label=text_of_your_choice’

How to Save Your Autorun File

Simply save your autorun file as ‘autorun.inf’ in the root folder of you CD, the top-most folder in which everything else is stored.  Note that it will not work if it is inside any other folder!

Have fun creating your Aurtorun CD’s!

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