I’ve never been a big fan of Windows startup or shutdown sounds, which is why I was so happy they were removed in Windows 8. However, if you want to have your own startup and shutdown sounds in Windows, it’s possible. In Windows XP, this is a piece of cake.
On Windows 7, you need to use a third-party program to change the startup sound because if you try to use Control Panel it won’t do anything.
In Windows 8, things get worse if you miss your favorite startup sound because it is completely disabled, so you first need to enable it in the registry. After that, you need to run a third-party program, and even after that, you must shutdown and restart your computer in a certain way to actually hear the sound.
I’ll cover all operating systems below to make this as easy as possible depending on your OS. Before we dive into the details, you will first want to find the appropriate WAV audio file. If you have MP3, you can easily convert it to WAV format using a free online tool like Media.io Try to keep the file size as small as possible, less than 1 MB.
Windows XP startup sound
There are two ways to change startup sounds and other sounds in Windows XP: simply drag and drop them to the appropriate folder or using the Control Panel. Let’s start by copying the audio files to the sound directory.
Step 1. Rename each WAV file to Windows XP Startup.wav and Windows XP Shutdown.wav respectively.
Step 2: Now navigate to the folder with the current Windows startup and shutdown sounds, i.e. C: Windows Media. Here you will find the Windows XP Startup.wav and Windows XP Shutdown.wav files, as well as many other Windows sounds.
Move the two original files from the Media folder to some other backup folder. This is just in case the two WAV files you created don’t work and you want to revert to the original sound.
Step 3: Now copy the two renamed files to the C: Windows Media folder and restart your computer! You should now hear the new sound and not the default sounds.
If you don’t like some of the other default Windows sounds, you can change them in the same way. Just create a file with the same name as the file in the Media folder and replace it.
The second way is to go to the Control Panel and click â€œSounds and Audio Devicesâ€. Click the Sounds tab and then click Windows Start in the list.
Go ahead, click the Browse button and just select the replacement WAV file. You can follow the same procedure in Windows 7, but for some reason the startup sound doesn’t change.
Windows 7 startup sound
On Windows 7, you’ll have to rely on a third-party program called Startup Sound Changer Just download and run. Luckily, it doesn’t install anything on your system, so you can simply uninstall it as soon as you’re done.
The program is very easy to use. Click Play to hear the current startup sound, Replace to change the startup sound, and Restore to return to the original startup sound.
The only thing you need to do is check the setting under Sound in Control Panel. Click the Sounds tab and make sure the Play sound when Windows starts up check box is selected.
Once you do this, you should hear a new startup sound when you log into Windows. Note that you can still use the Sound Control Panel settings to change other sounds as shown for Windows XP. For example, you can click Exit Windows, Browse and choose a different WAV file. This will work fine.
Windows 8 startup sound
Windows 8 is a very different beast and almost all startup and shutdown sounds are turned off by default. This is because Windows 8 supports the new Fast Boot (Hybrid Boot), which significantly reduces boot times. Windows 8 has two problems:
1. Sounds are disabled and must be enabled in the registry.
2. Even if you enable sounds, fastboot procedure ignores all sounds. You must turn off the system completely to hear sounds. Even performing a restart will result in no sounds being played.
Obviously, this is very annoying, and I’m sure 99% of people just use Windows 8 without worrying about sounds. However, if you really want sounds, here’s how to do it.
Enable sounds in the registry
Activate sounds in the recording
In Windows 8, if you open Control Panel, click Sound and then click the Sounds tab, you will notice that the Log in to Windows and Logout Windows options are not even listed. This is how we can enable sounds in the registry.
Press Win Key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box and type regedit. You can also just go to the Start screen and start typing regedit and it will appear in the charms bar on the right.
Now move on to the next key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER AppEvents EventLabels
You will see a lot of items listed here, but in this post we are interested in WindowsLogon and WindowsLogoff.
Click WindowsLogon, then double-click the ExcludeFromCPL section in the right pane. Change the value from 1 to 0. You should now be able to open Sound from Control Panel and see the listed items without rebooting or logging out.
You will also need to check the Play sound when Windows starts up box, because in Windows 8 it will definitely not be checked.
Next, you need to download the startup sound changer mentioned above and run it to replace the actual Windows login sound. Again, you can still change other sounds in Windows 8 by clicking sound and choosing Browse, it’s just a startup sound that requires all that extra work. However, you still have an extra step – enabling sounds first in Windows 8 using the registry.
Finally, you need to shut down Windows 8 completely in order to hear the login sound at startup. To complete a full shutdown in 8.1, you must right-click the Start button, select Shut Down or Exit, and then click Shut Down.
If you try to shutdown using the Start screen or by going to the Charms bar and pressing the power button, it will perform a hybrid shutdown without playing audio. Here are screenshots so you know exactly what won’t work.
So that’s all for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8. I’ll also update this post when Windows 10 gets closer to release this year, as it will probably be different from all the methods above! If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Enjoy!