Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I know it has been discussed that it is not possible to start an application from an usb drive upon connection due to limitations of autorun (or autoplay??) in Win 7. But it is possible to create a scheduled task having an event type trigger. Surely there must be an event occurring when the drive -- or any USB device, for that matter -- is connected.

Does anybody have the slightest idea which Event ID should I use? Or at least what type of event? Where can I find the event in event viewer?

share|improve this question

This question has an open bounty worth +50 reputation from GiantDuck ending in 5 days.

The current answers do not contain enough detail.

Need an answer using Event Viewer / Task Scheduler ONLY. An answer with more detailed steps than that of EliadTech is required. Thank you!

4 Answers 4

As I already explained on this discussion (but it was about running a program when a USB drive is removed), USB Safely Remove, although not free, can run a program when some events about USB devices are triggered:

Another USB Safely Remove feature that distinguishes it from similar software is starting any applications not only after connecting a device, but also before removing it. The autorun feature allows you to set up data backup before disconnecting a removable hard drive, to run Total Commander with the contents of the pen-drive, automatically unmount an encrypted TrueCrypt drive before disconnecting the USB media, etc.

enter image description here

Of course, this does not fully answer the question, as it is not about using scheduled tasks, but the goal is the same, I think, which is to run a specific program when a USB stick is plugged in.

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you very much, a good workaround, it is. I've tried it but in spite of it working properly, I'm still trying to achieve my original goal (that is, using a natively available and free solution). So far I've figured out that using Event ID 2006 events from DriverFrameworks-UserMode I can trigger the action. It's still not perfect though. The necessary info is available in the event details but I cannot filter it for a specific USB drive, so plugging in any USB drive will cause the trigger to fire. –  gemisigo May 26 '11 at 10:37

It should be quite easy using EventVwr.

  1. Find the event you want - When I plugged an USB mass storage device it triggered the following events (under application category): 20001, 20003, 7036 and a few other less relevant. Make sure you test those events against other USB devices events to avoid false positives.

  2. right click on the event and click "Attach task to this event" (relevant only in Windows Vista or higher - for XP there's CLI EventTrigger), choose "Start a Program" and point it to the script you want to run.

  3. To pass to the script the event parameters you need have a look in this article. Under the events 20001 and 20003 you can find the UNC path to the new storage. Using Sysinternals Junction utility you can create a links to the UNC paths.

share|improve this answer
    
I like the idea of this, but it isn't detailed enough; I can't get it to work. –  GiantDuck yesterday
    
@GiantDuck For me it looks pretty straight-forward, on what would you like me to elaborate? –  EliadTech yesterday
    
I can't find said events in Event Viewer. (On Win8 at the moment) What is the exact path? Thank you! –  GiantDuck yesterday
    
I wrote, it's under 'application' log with the event numbers mentioned above. But I've tested this on Win7, so maybe on Win8 the event numbers are different. As I said you'll need to do some testing anyway to ensure it would work with any device you're plugging. –  EliadTech yesterday

The thread Task Scheduler: How to automatically synchronize my USB flash drive? has this answer by a user called monotone, which uses PowerShell together with the Task Scheduler :

I had the same question as you, and worked out something with powershell (windows built-in scripting) using techniques from the Scripting Guy Blog here and here. The script runs continuously as a background process, which you can start at system logon with task scheduler. The script will be notified whenever a new drive is plugged and then do something (here you configure the script rather than the task). Since it is basically paused while waiting for the next plugged drive, you should not find it takes up much resources. Here I go:

1) Start Powershell ISE, which can be found in your start menu under Accessories/Windows Powershell. 2) Copy paste the following into Powershell:

#Requires -version 2.0
Register-WmiEvent -Class win32_VolumeChangeEvent -SourceIdentifier volumeChange
write-host (get-date -format s) " Beginning script..."
do{
$newEvent = Wait-Event -SourceIdentifier volumeChange
$eventType = $newEvent.SourceEventArgs.NewEvent.EventType
$eventTypeName = switch($eventType)
{
1 {"Configuration changed"}
2 {"Device arrival"}
3 {"Device removal"}
4 {"docking"}
}
write-host (get-date -format s) " Event detected = " $eventTypeName
if ($eventType -eq 2)
{
$driveLetter = $newEvent.SourceEventArgs.NewEvent.DriveName
$driveLabel = ([wmi]"Win32_LogicalDisk='$driveLetter'").VolumeName
write-host (get-date -format s) " Drive name = " $driveLetter
write-host (get-date -format s) " Drive label = " $driveLabel
# Execute process if drive matches specified condition(s)
if ($driveLetter -eq 'Z:' -and $driveLabel -eq 'Mirror')
{
write-host (get-date -format s) " Starting task in 3 seconds..."
start-sleep -seconds 3
start-process "Z:\sync.bat"
}
}
Remove-Event -SourceIdentifier volumeChange
} while (1-eq1) #Loop until next event
Unregister-Event -SourceIdentifier volumeChange

3) You need to modify the script above to tell the script what drive to look for, and what to execute. The two lines to change are:

if ($driveLetter -eq 'Z:' -and $driveLabel -eq 'Mirror')

My usb hard drive named 'Mirror' is set as the Z: drive. You could just use if ($driveLabel -eq 'MyDiskLabel') if you didn't care about the letter.

start-process "Z:\sync.bat"

Path of whatever task you want to do. In my example, I have created a batch file on my USB drive which starts 3-4 backup tasks command lines.

4) When you're done, save your script somewhere (extension .ps1), then go create a task in Task Scheduler to have your script run in background. Mine looks like this:

  • Trigger: At log on
  • Action: Start a program
  • Program/script: powershell
  • Add arguments: -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -File "D:\Stuff\Backup script.ps1"

5) Voilà!

6) Extra stuff:

If you want your script window to be hidden, use these arguments:

  • Add arguments:
    -WindowStyle Hidden -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -File "D:\Stuff\Backup script.ps1"

If you want to output the script messages into a log file (that gets overwritten everytime the script starts, i.e. at log on), use the following task action:

  • Program/script: cmd
  • Add arguments:
    /c powershell -WindowStyle Hidden -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -File "D:\Stuff\Backup script.ps1" > "D:\Stuff\script log.txt"

Anytime you want to end the running hidden script, you can end the "Powershell" process in Task Manager.

The only downside is that nothing will run when you boot your computer with the drive already plugged in. (The script could be changed to perform a first check initially though, but I've had enough for today!)

share|improve this answer
    
I think this'll work great. Let me tinker with it and I'll get back to you –  GiantDuck yesterday
    
It's working for drives. How can I modify this to detect any USB device inserted, and not only drives? –  GiantDuck yesterday
    
EventType 2 will detect any device arrival. Getting the details will require some more digging into the event. Simplest might be to print the members of $newEvent.SourceEventArgs.NewEvent for the events you are interested in. –  harrymc yesterday
    
Nice to see a promising answer after almost 4 years :) Thank you very much, GiantDuck & harrymc. –  gemisigo yesterday
    
@harrymc Can you provide some context for that? I've never used powershell before. Thanks! –  GiantDuck 20 hours ago

As others have mentioned, it seems that System log Event 7036 from the Service Control Manager is the only event which correlates reliably with a USB drive being inserted. I checked this by inserting a USB drive and running the following powershell command to list all event log entries from all sources in the last hour:

get-winevent | where {$_.timecreated -ge (get-date) - (new-timespan -hour 1)}

Unfortunately that Event 7036 is generated every time the Service Control Manager successfully starts or stops any service, so additional filtering is required.

The filtering available in the GUI of Event Viewer / Task Scheduler is quite basic and doesn't allow for any filtering on the event data - it only lets you filter on the metadata which in this case doesn't tell you anything about which service has changed state and what state it has changed to. That is held in "param1" and "param2" of the EventData. The following XPath filter can therefore be used to capture only the relevant service starting up:

<QueryList>
  <Query Id="0" Path="System">
    <Select Path="System">*[System[Provider[@Name='Service Control Manager'] and (Level=4 or Level=0) and (band(Keywords,36028797018963968)) and (EventID=7036)]]
and
*[EventData[
  Data[@Name="param1"]="Portable Device Enumerator Service" and
  Data[@Name="param2"]="running"
  ]
]
</Select>
  </Query>
</QueryList>

From there you can run your script, ideally with some additional logic in place to check that the USB drive which has been inserted is the one you are interested in.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.