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XP System Sounds

BEEP, BOOP, BONG, DING, ZING, TA DA, BLIP! Those are only a few of the sounds our computers make as we computer our way along daily, ignoring them for the most part. Many users of course hear these sounds, but a lot of them have no idea what they mean.  This page can fix that easily.

Overall, the process is:

Replace the current useless sounds with something useful, by:

  1. Replacing the sound with your own verbal description.
  2. Set the new voice descriptions to play instead of the dings, dongs, etc..

They're pretty much useless as a rule, except for the STOP! sound; most of us know that because everything stops working! It got to me one day, all those sounds when nothing apparent was happening on my machine, so I looked into it, wondering if there was anything useful I could discern from the cacophony I hear each day.
   It turns out there ARE some useful ones.

 And some others that are SO useless one has to wonder why they were even dreamed up, let alone given a sound. Why in hell was MS so obtuse with these useless pieces of musical mess of noise. In windows XP, the default location for all these sounds is in C:\WINDOWS\Media.   And you can listen to what each one means, individually, by clicking:

Start;  Settings; Control Panel; Sounds and Audio Devices.
   This is where you can listen to every available system sound, hear it, and see a description of what it is being used for.    Here you can also add/replace the System Sounds with more meaningful sounds, like "Computer Starting" instead of TADA. Computer Exiting, and many other useful ones.

Click on Sounds and Audio Devices and, in the window that opens, select the Sounds tab.  Here you can select the various sounds names in a list and play each one individually to see what it sounds like. You can set whether the sound for a particular event is played or not, and even Browse to put your own sound to that event.
   In case you can't find it, the button to play the sounds after you select one, is just to the left of the Browser Button. It looks like a filled in rightpointing triangle.

I went through them, and enabled the ones I wanted to hear that I though might be useful and turned others off.  But even that still wasn't very informative to listen to.

   So, I wrote down what I thought might be some of the useful sounds, and some I didn't know what they meant, and fired up my trusty little MS Audio Recorder, grabbed the microphone, and recorded a voice message for each sound.
   The first to go was that stupid tadaa when windows starts or stops:  My little wave file simply said "Windows starting or Windows Exiting.. Some of the other most useful turned out to be:

Windows Start
Windows Exit
Program Start (for awhile, turned it off later)
Program Exit (same as above)
Exclamation Point
System Error
Navigation Start
Navigation Complete
and some others. Each to his own, here.

CAVEAT: Careful, think about what  you're doing and test each one. Some, like Program Start, can be real irritants because some programs start a LOT of different programs to support the main one. They get real irritating in a hurry if  you aren't careful!
N O T E : Do not make your own spoken wave files too loud; ideally, they'll be about half volume compared to music and other sounds are, so that they don't feel like they overpower the speakers.

Then I went to the C:\WINDOWS\Medi a folder and made a backup copy of all the original sounds and stored them off in a safe location in case I wanted them back later.  I named my voice files the same as  the original files but put a V at the start of each one, so I could ID It easily.
   Then I started checking and assigning the voice messages to the sound events.  Viola!  It worked!

NOW I have some brief idea of what the computer is doing.  One that's particularly useful, IMO, is Navigation Start and Complete. Very often when I'm signed into and logged onto a web site and have entered data or done something else interactive, I have to sit there and wait for the "You're logged off" page to trail in and display. I'm afraid if I leave too soon, without waiting for the acknowledgment that it signed me out, the process might not work.
   Now, however, when I click to log out, once I hear the Navigation Completed sound, I know my logout was accepted and I don't have to wait for the next page to completely paint  I can go ahead and leave the site, go to another page, whatever.
   I just picked that for an example:  I can't think of most of them right now, but I've found several of the voice messages quite useful.
   Here's a useful one:  I click on a link.  Nothing seems to be happening. If, after a reasonable length of time, I don't hear "Navigation Started" I know access to that page hasn't started.  I can go elsewhere or click the link to it again.

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