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AutoPlay Crashing System?


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I've cleaned up several problems with XP, but the most perplexing is an intermittent
system crash.

After loading any media like a CD or USB flash drive the desktop monitor goes dark for
a couple of seconds. Sometimes the system recovers like nothing happened. Usually,
I see "no signal" on the monitor as if the system was starting a boot or reboot. However,
the system does not restart. I'm forced to press the tower reset button.

There is never a BSOD or any other kind of error dialog box. Like I said, this problem is
unpredictable. Maybe two out of ten media loadings.

I finally have a solid clue as to the possible cause. It's AutoPlay. I selected "take no action"
but a drive window opens automatically after inserting a USB stick. Since I couldn't stop
AutoPlay I used an app from Sysinternals called AutoRuns.

To disable AutoPlay I removed the tick from this item:

ShellHWDetection -- Provides notifications for AutoPlay hardware events.
Pathname: c:\windows\system32\shsvcs.dll

I probably won't know if I've cured this "crashing" problem for a couple of days. My question
is, could AutoPlay be the cause of this weird behavior?

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I probably won't know if I've cured this "crashing" problem for a couple of days. My question

is, could AutoPlay be the cause of this weird behavior?


I wonder if Autoplay is really off...


If it’s XP Pro, you can turn off Autoplay this way:

  • start / Run…
  • gpedit.msc
  • computer configuration / administrative templates / system / turn off autoplay (“Enabled” for all drives)

There’s also this information and “Fix it” link instead:



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Is this the same as the other thread, where your video driver crashed/stopped responding/didn't recover in time?

I have had this problem before but not XP. You may try to update your video driver to see if it does anything.

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bluebolt, I should have looked at my list of all XP Pro "run" commands. Using AutoRuns
worked, but gpedit.msc is definitely a better way to go.

I probably have too many system backups, but knowing that any damage can quickly
be reversed allowed me to push XP with the following stress test:

With AutoPlay (shsvcs.dll) disabled I grabbed a mobile cart with twelve USB devices.
Using a 12-port hub I attached each device in rapid succession. The instant I heard
that "boop-boop" sound indicating a device had loaded I plugged in the next gizmo.
I ejected all twelve devices successfully and repeated the process a few more times.

Despite all the hammering with different USB devices, the system did not break down.
It's nice to have a fully functional XP system again.

The next logical step would be to replace shsvcs.dll with a fresh copy. It may or may
not be corrupt, but it's a good idea. 98 has the System File Checker. It can extract a
fresh copy of any file from the install disk. XP does not appear to have a similar applet.
I haven't searched yet, but there must be free third party apps that can do the same job.

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