It appears to me that autoplay is “too busy” on my system. That is, an autoplay window pops up every time (almost) I press a key. Is that normal?
Kenneth, I'd recommend that you upgrade your installation of Windows XP to SP3. SP2 is no longer supported and you won't get bug/security fixes.
Disable Autoplay so that you can actually use your computer:
Click Start, click Run, type Gpedit.msc in the Open box, and then click OK.
Under Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, and then click System.
In the Settings pane, right-click Turn off Autoplay, and then click Properties.
Now when you insert any media (USB, CD/DVD, FLOPPY, Etc.) you will need to click "Start" and "Computer" or "My Computer". There you will see the media you inserted.
Alternatively, if my method of disabling Autoplay doesn't work you may download Microsoft's FixIt for disabling Autoplay.
I disabled autoplay as described (run Gpedit.msc, etc.) and the effect was immediate.
I guess an upgrade is in order. Any recommendations?
Thanks again and Kind Regards
If you absolutely need Auto-Play enabled, re-enable it and begin unplugging devices, removing CD's/DVD's etc until you notice that you no-longer the the popup. You may need to restart after unplugging the device in-order to properly determine which application caused it (i.e remove program, restart. Rince & repeat). So if after you remove a USB device, the autoplay wizzard stops appearing, we know it's probably that and we can look into fixes for USB version x.x and whether it's a software or hardware issue. If it continues to popup after removing all non-critical devices it's almost certainly a malfunctioning hardware component, cable or a fault in Windows itself.
Windows XP support era is coming to a conclusion and I do recommend either upgrading your operating system to 7 (or wait for 8) or switch to Linux (where this shit doesn't happen :) I think Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP as of July, 2010 and upgrade neglection is a serious issue, lol.
However, you should still be able to visit Windows Update and get the final updates for Windows XP. To be safe, perform a backup before updating. To do so, Click Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Restore then click "Create a restore point". If the system restore application does not open, it is disabled.
Is there any particular reason you are still running SP2 on your system and not SP3? You may not get fixes to these types of problems from MS through Windows/Microsoft Update since SP2 support ended 7/13/2010 while SP3 will be supported into 2014.
If your machine will support it (many that run XP well can't handle it), you should upgrade to Win7 (don't even consider Vista) even it it means adding RAM. To check your system's ability to run Win7, download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=1b544e90-7659-4bd9-9e51-2497c146af15&displaylang=en) from MS.
Remember that there is not a direct upgrade path from XP to 7. In other words, you can't install Win7 over WinXP so you will need to backup all of your data, do a clean install of Win7 (preferably with SP1 already in it if you are purchasing a new copy), reinstall all of your applications and restore your data.