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The process is one of creating a web site that never gets to the web. You need an index file (index.html) which Netscape & Internet Explorer both look for, find and open when directed to it by a URL on the web. In this case an applet from www.startertool.com (no longer in business in 2005) provides the files required to autorun the finished CD when inserted into the drive. Without this set of files your intended viewer must navigate to the directory on the CD, select and open the "index.html" file to get their default browser to open. With Startertools gone, do a Google search for "autostart file". You will quickly find an alternative.

The directory on my test CD looks like this:
CD Directory Tree

I think you can make out the three files necessary to autostart the CD. They are "autorun.inf", "autostart.ini" and "autostart.exe". Startertool provided a free evaluation copy of the file set. If you name your index file as directed (index.html) you won't have to open or change anything in the three files provided. If your HTML editor doesn't like the extension .html, save it as .htm and rename it later.

The other files in the directory are windows media files (videos) and image files in jpeg format, which illustrate the link to each of the pieces. That portion of the page looks like this...

Navigation section of index.html Your paths to the videos are simply their names. Since they reside in the same directory as the index file, clicking on whatever link you have built to them will open Windows Media Player and present the video. I have distributed copies of this disk to five individual PC users with various equipment from an old P166 running Win95 to a brand new PIII 900kHz running Win 2000. In each case the CD has autostarted, opened their default browser and played their video selections. Granted the P166 couldn't keep up to the 700 kbps encoding rate of several of the pieces, but ran the 200 kbps files fine.

I think this approach to presenting video on CD has great utility. You can't always depend on the sophistication of either your viewer or their equipment, but just about everyone has a modern web browser and the Windows default movie viewer. If their disk detector function is enabled there is no work for them to do to enjoy your productions. Give it a try!

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