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4-1-1] What's the deal with Windows Auto-Insert Notification (AIN)?


This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (fadden@fadden.com) with numerous contributions by others.

4-1-1] What's the deal with Windows Auto-Insert Notification (AIN)?


Some of the Windows-based recording software recommend turning off
Auto-Insert Notification. Having this on can interfere with closing
sessions or even just inserting discs into the drive. Most of the recent
software will disable it automatically, but some of the older products
require you to disable it manually. You can do so under Win95/Win98 by
opening the "System" icon in the Control Panel, and selecting "Device
Manager". For each item under CD-ROM, select the device, click on the
"Settings" tab, and make sure the "Auto Insert Notification" checkbox is
unchecked. [With a vanilla Win95 setup I got SCSI errors when AIN was off
for my CD-R but on for my CD-ROM, even if the CD-ROM drive wasn't in use at
the time.]

If you're using WinNT, you can turn it off with the "TweakUI" program
available in PowerToys (available from the Microsoft web site at
http://www.microsoft.com/), or by modifying a registry key with Regedit32
(0=disabled, 1=enabled):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Services \ Cdrom \ Autorun

If your software automatically turns AIN off, and you can't figure out how
to turn it back on, the TweakUI program may be able to help. Check the
"Paranoia" settings. (Incidentally, if installing the Power Toys screws up
your icons, select "Rebuild Icons" from the "Repair" menu.) If you turn it
off and on again, You may have to reboot in some configurations before it
will work again.

Sidebar: the trouble with Auto Insert Notification is that it periodically
attempts to find a valid disc in the CD recorder. A blank disc isn't very
interesting to Windows, so nothing happens. When the table of contents is
written to the disc, it suddenly becomes interesting; and if Autorun or
Autoplay are enabled, enough activity is generated by Windows' attempts to
read the disc that the write fails.

Because it only affects CDs with actual data being written to them, a test
write won't end in failure. It can be very frustrating to have 100%
success with test writes and 100% failures with actual writes! With
disc-at-once recording, the process will abort very near the start of
recording, probably leaving an empty but useless disc. With track-at-once
recording, it will fail at the end, and you may still be able to finalize
the disc. Audio CDs will most likely work fine even if interrupted at the
end of the write process.

IMPORTANT: if you are using DirectCD for Windows, you must have AIN turned
*on*, or some things won't work quite right. The most obvious failure mode
is that long filenames aren't shown, but some reports indicate that data on
the disc can get trashed as well. This can make life interesting if you're
also using a conventional writing application, unless the application is
good about turning AIN off before writing. The other Windows applications
currently sold by Roxio (notably Easy CD Creator) will automatically
disable Auto-Insert Notification when appropriate and re-enable it
afterward, so you don't have to worry about AIN at all.


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