Configure sounds settings in Windows Vista
This tutorial teaches you how to configure the event sounds in Windows Vista; like Windows XP, Vista comes with multiple sound files associated with various operating system events, like logging in, logging out, receiving emails, web page navigation, etc. All these sounds can be customized, enabled, and disabled: you can even use your own sound files as association with events. For example: playing your current favorite song when Windows Vista starts only takes a couple clicks. You can also save "Sound Schemes", or files that have their own event-sound associations, and switch between sound schemes (or "sound themes") on the fly.
Loading Windows Vista's Personalization Options
To access the personalization options and settings in Windows Vista, right-click on an empty area of your desktop, and choose "Personalize".
This will open the "Appearance and Personalization" page of the Control Panel, which exposes the seven sets of customizable properties for "Window Color and Appearance", "Desktop Background", "Screen Saver", "Sounds", "Mouse Pointers", "Theme", and "Display Settings".
Click on the Sounds link to open the Windows Vista sounds settings and options: the Sound window opens, with the Sounds tab automatically preselected. This tutorial covers all the sound settings and options available to Vista through this tab.
Sound options in Windows Vista
The Sounds option and settings dialog in Windows Vista is composed of three portions:
The Sound Scheme dropdown menu contains the list of sound schemes that ship with Vista, along with any sound schemes (or "sound themes") you customized and saved. Windows Vista ships with the "Windows Default" and "No Sounds" sound schemes.
Program lists the applications registered to play event sounds, along with the events to which a sound can be associated.
Finally, the Sounds options and settings dialog includes a sound file browser and player, to let you preview the sounds you can use.
Turn off or mute sounds in Windows Vista
To prevent Windows Vista from playing any event sound: the quick solution is to turn down/mute the volume or turn off your speakers. If you need to hear other sounds (music of videos, for example), you can explicitly tell Vista not to play any even sounds altogether. To do so, choose "No Sounds" from the Sound Scheme dropdown menu, and click OK to apply your changes.
Customize event sounds in Windows Vista
The listing of events under Program includes a small speaker icon when a sound has been associated with a particular event. Any event listed can have its sound individually disabled, changed, or added.
From the screenshot, we can tell that the "Close program" event does not have an associated sound. The "Critical Stop" event, however, does have a selected sound.
Click on one of your events that has an associated sound.
As soon as you selected a sound-associated event, the Test [sound] button will become clickable: this allows you to preview the sound currently attached to the application and event.
Changing event sounds
The easiest way to set a different sound to an event in Windows Vista is to use the Sounds dropdown menu after selecting the event. The Sounds dropdown lists all the default WAV sound files inside the
After changing sound, click the Test button, and the sound file will play. This lets you preview the sounds before assigning them, without having to go through Windows Media Player.
(If you cannot hear anything after clicking the Test button, make sure that your speakers are not turned off, and double-check that you have not accidentally muted Windows Vista.)
The Browse button lets you navigate your computer for sound files not listed in the Sounds dropdown menu: as long as it is in WAV format, any sound file can become a Windows event sound. Windows Vista displays by default the WAV sound files contained inside the
C:\Windows\Media folder: but you can navigate to any location on your computer to find a suitable, alternate WAV file for the event you are customizing.
Removing event sounds
To disassociate a sound from an event: click the event, and select "(None)" from the Sounds dropdown menu. This is a quick way to selectively disable sounds in Windows Vista. And again: to disable all sounds, simply choose "No Sounds" from the Sound Scheme dropdown menu at the top.
Removing a sound from an event does not delete the sound file, it only tells Windows Vista not to play a sound for this particular event. All default event sound files are stored in the special Windows directory
C:\Windows\Media. Clicking the Browse sound button automatically loads this folder and displays all the WAV sound files it contained.
Disable the Windows Vista Startup sound
The Sounds settings and options dialog contains a special option just for the Windows Vista startup sound: this is the short piece of music that plays when Windows is starting. To disable the Windows startup sound, un-check the "Play Windows Startup sound" checkbox, which is checked by default.
For Windows Vista users with hearing impairments, it is possible to configure alternate (visual) notifications instead of sounds for various Windows and application events. These options will be covered in a later tutorial on accessibility features in Windows Vista.up ↑