Shell Hardware Detection

Supports Autoplay which is launched when inserting a USB storage device, CD or other removable storage (Like scanner or camera), and gives you the option to select what application to use with the device. Autoplay is an extension of AutoRun.

Some experiences that Windows takes a long time to boot when this service is set to Automatic.

If the service is disabled then the AutoPlay-Tab will not be shown when viewing properties for an AutoPlay device like CD-ROM/DVD.

Recommended State:
  • Disabled if able to live without the Autoplay wizard.
Default State:
  • Automatic.
Process Name:


  1. Wolf D. Ascher says:

    I cannot burn a CD or DVD or even open one up. After a specialist analyzed my problem he determined that “The Shell Hardware Detection Service” was disabled. It fixed things for a while but now I have the problem again. I suspect the service disabled itself again. How can I select “Automatic” for the Shell Hardware Detection? Is that complicated and can only be done by someone that is authorized to do that? I have a Dell Inspiron 1620-7, using Windows 7. Thanks

  2. blah says:


    1) Start > Run > Services.msc
    2) Double-click "Shell Hardware Detection" service
    3) Set it Startup-Type to Automatic
    4) If it's not already started, click "Start"

    If it complains about other services being shut-off that need to turn on, either enable them (I think Windows does a good job of auto-enabling things you should need), or look in the "Dependencies" tab at the top of the Shell Hardware Detection applet to see what services may be shut-off that you might have to enable.

    This service relies on the ....
    1) RPC (Remote Procedure Call)
    2) +DCOM Server Process Launcher
    3) +RPC Endpoint Mapper services to run properly.

    (+ means that those 2 services also rely on RPC main service)

    Some folks like to tweak their comps, which includes shutting off or setting to "manual" startup certain services. This can be useful to turn your computer into a task-specific machine instead of a swiss-army knife. However, if you try to do something else, you might run into issues. EG: I used to tweak my comps to shut off the Computer Browser and Server services, since they were useless to me on a stand-alone comp. But, then I started fiddling with SQL server, and after a few hours of it not working I realized it needed the (duh) Server service to be running to work.

    Anyways, this should help out. If you're using a laptop given to you by your company IT folks, they may have shut off Shell Hardware Detection to prevent auto-play on purpose. This can be a preventative measure to keep malicous software (viruses, etc) from auto-running/installing. But, if it's just your own comp, then tweak away, my good man. Might want to make a system restore point before doing so, just to be safe.

  3. Pamela says:

    I would set it to manual and windows can start-it up when you plug something in to the USB. No need to start-it at boot.

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