Conversation continued from telephone + e-mail...
To preface this, a friend had problems with his computer lately, odd cases of explorer crashing for "no reason", he could only reboot successfully in safe mode, etc. He initially blamed it on Facebook games, but I'm finding that to be a scapegoat lately, more likely causes are being ignored.
He's a heavy user of thumb drives, and I'm convinced he grabbed one of those thumb drive "viruses" -- some kind of malware that leeches onto the thumb/flash drives, and spreads by way of autorun. I've seen and heard of entire school, college and workplace networks spreading these nasty things.
By default, autorun is enabled in Windows, and the only way to really turn it off through normal means is one drive at a time. Well, a thumb drive adds a new drive in most cases, with autorun already enabled. By the time you can disable it, it's already too late! You need to disable autorun system-wide, for any possible drive letter.
I suggested he look up
Today he wrote back with yet another option to disable it, in XP:
What an awesome idea you had. Really glad you told me about it. I looked into TweakVI and noticed it was for Vista only. Instead Ran Tweak-XP Pro. It only had the ability to diable the cd rom. So I looked even further. Kept coming upon websites saying you could disable it by doing regedit. Uninstalled Tweak and edited my registry manually. Tried putting in a DVD and it didn't autoload. Not sure what I could do to test the other drives. Anyways I was able to diable autorun for all of explorer. Thanks for the idea.
Wanted to share these tips.
Malware (malicious software) is all over the place these days. Some people call it a virus, others call it spyware -- regardless of what you call it, it's never any good for you. Disabling autorun/autoplay is just one more way to protect yourself.
Don't forget to add good anti-virus software, too!
is another good tool, prevents certain changes from being made without your permission. A little dog icon sits by the clock, and it'll bark at you when malware tries to trespass!