@ Chris C
"Why did Microsoft have to make a way (turned on by default, no less) to automatically run a program upon insertion of a disc/device?"
They didn't "have to"; they chose to for reasons that seem pretty obvious: either MS wants to simplify Windows so any idiot can use it, or MS thinks the users ~are~ idiots.
Two expressions of this attitude or design goal, whichever it is, are (a) guessing what the user intended when he makes a mistake and (b) doing favors for the user he didn't ask for. The dividing line between these categories is not sharp.
[An alternative analysis points at MS's arrogance,their patronizing attitude toward customers, and their "wasn't invented here" attitude toward lessons other people learned the hard way. Maybe it all amounts to the same thing.]
The minute you start trying to guess what the user intended, you are guaranteed to make mistakes. And those unasked-for favors will turn out to be mistakes of their own some of the time. Artificial intelligence is not yet a sufficiently advanced field to make either approach practicable.
Chris C again: " Any idiot can tell you that automatically running unknown (and hence untrusted) code upon insertion of a disc/device is a stupid idea and is bound to cause problems."
You're right, and this just demonstrates how flawed MS's p.o.v. is.
I conjecture that it's impossible to implement an idiot-proof system on a general purpose, programmable platform, but I'm not enough of a logician to be able to prove this.
A corollary to all this palaver of mine is that Windows, being designed for in-home use by idiots, is de facto not appropriate for serious applications.
PH as an example of "idiot" -- only seemingly, of course. That girl is smarter than she's given credit for.