I dont know if your running vista or downgraded to xp ?
1 - open my computer
2 - right click the cd drive and open properties from the menu
3 - in the properties popup click the autoplay tab
4 - select Blank CD from the pulldown menu
5 - in actions select the "prompt me each time to choose an action" dot
6 - hit "OK
can you take a look through the manual:http://ftp6.nero.com/user_guides/nero8/startsmart/NeroStartSmart_Enu.pdf
may or may not shed some light on the subject
I still think if you insert a blank and the first option you get is format then the registry is messed up and if you uninstall nero then re-install nero should rectify
vista has its own built in burner ability so just dont use nero when burn data files. If xp then yes you need nero. Can you not click on close on the format window to cancel then click nerostartsmart icon. Choose what you want to burn or do from there?