Add Autostart to your CD
for PCs and Macs!

It's really quite simple to create a CD that will start up automatically on a PC or Mac. The steps below show how to create and burn the CD with a Macintosh computer. It can also be done with a PC, but with limited capability (see below). We've tailored the instructions and files that you download to startup an HTML page, but the prinicples shown can be applied to startup any program or file.

Step One: Create your web pages or HTML gallery. Our CD consists of a simple HTML Gallery. There are many programs to accomplish this. We use iView MediaPro for the Mac--Windows version will be available ( You can also use Photoshop, or ThumbsPlus for windows (, among others. When creating your HTML gallery, you'll want to use the '.htm' extension, not the '.html' extension.

Step Two: Download 'ShellRun.exe' and 'AutoRun.INF' (you may need to option-click to download instead of viewing the contents). Add these two to the root directory of your HTML folder (it should be in the same directory as your main index.htm file--see image on right). The program 'AutoRun.INF is what tells Windows (95,98, NT, etc) what to start with. The Program ShellRun.exe is a free ware program that allows us to designate a file within AutoRun.INF instead of an application. You can find more info about SheelRun.exe and the optional retail version at

NOTE: The AutoRun.INF program in the download is already setup to run 'index.htm'. You can edit AutoRun.INF to choose a different startup file. But, be careful doing this on a Mac, because it is very sensitive to all characters, including carraige returns. Since the Mac's carraige returns are slighty different, it's best to leave the return characters in the file and test it on a PC.

Step Three: Get ready to Burn your CD. Toast is the most popular CD-burning program on the Mac, so we're showing it here. You can simply set Toast to the ISO 9660 format and burn the CD (index.htm, autorun.inf and shellrun.exe must be in the root level for autostart to work), but with just the ISSO format, autostart will only work on the PC, not the Mac. If you're not worried about getting the CD to autostart on a Mac also, go on to step four. (PC users, see the note below)

To get the Mac to autostart you need to use the 'Mac/ISO Hybrid' format. First you'll need to create a temporary partition with Toast's Utility Menu. Then copy the contents of the folder you want to be your CD into the partition. Also, name the partition to reflect what you want the CD's name to show (File Sharing must be off to rename the partition). Drag the partition to the Toast window. Also drag the folder over for the ISO section of the disk. Your screen should show similar to our example. (Our CD is named 'NewCD').

Now, click on the 'Data' button next to the Mac format. You'll get a screen similar to the one at below.

Click on autostart and you'll be prompted to select the file you want to start up. Choose 'index.htm' (you can choose any file or program for autostart, but for our example, index.htm will start our HTML gallery where we want it to.) Hit 'OK' and you're ready to burn.

NOTE: PC users should simply use their CD burning software to to burn the directory. The index.htm, autorun.inf and shellrun.exe must be on the root level of the CD to work.

Step Four: Burn your CD and test it. Once you've figured it out, you can use the same autorun.inf file for all your CDs (as long as you name your main file 'index.htm')

The standard legal disclaimer: All this information is provided for your personal use. Use it at your own risk. We can not be held responsible for any liabilities caused by use of this information.

Please let me know if this information has been helpful to you or if you have any suggestions by dropping me an email ( Thanks, Dave Keiser


All info © 2001 Keiser Photography