Sunday, May 11, 2008

Disable beep and other annoying sounds in Windows

Summary: How to turn off the irritating noises in Windows XP.

One thing that annoys me in Windows is noise. When launching Windows, I hear: ti-da-du-di-dam; exiting: ti-da-du-dam; loggin on: tu-dim; login off: ti-du; showing error message: beep; pressing a wrong key: beep... How many beeping beeps do I need to hear in a single session!

Seriously, unless I'm actually listening to the audio (music, songs, podcasts, video soundtrack) the only thing I want to hear is silence. So every time I get or build a new system, I disable the unnecessary sounds. Unfortunately, because the process is not straightforward, I have to spend a few minutes searching the Internet for hints and tips explaining how to turn the Windows system beep and sounds off. In case I forget how to do it next time (which I almost probably will), here are the steps for making Windows XP noise-free (hope this helps someone, too):

Stop and disable beep in Device Manager
There are several ways to turn to stop (for current session) and disable (for future sessions) the system beep in Device Manager. The most straightforward option would be to use command line:
  1. Opening command prompt (select the Start - Run menu; enter cmd).
  2. In the Command Prompt window, enter the following commands (notice a required space character after the equal sign in the second command):

    net stop beep
    sc config beep start= disabled
If you are not a command-line kind of guy (gal), you can disable beep in the Device Manager console:
  1. Right-click My Computer and select Properties.
  2. In the System Properties dialog box, click the Hardware tab.
  3. In the Hardware tab, click the Device Manager button.

  4. In the Device Manager window, select the View - Show hidden devices menu option.
  5. Expand Non-Plug and Play Drivers, right-click on the Beep element, and select Properties from the menu.
  6. In the Beep Properties dialog box, click the Driver tab.
  7. In the Driver tab, click the Stop button, and change the startup type to Disabled.

    When beep is disabled, the device manager's icon will be crossed.

Disable beep in the Windows Registry
Start regedit (select the Start - Run menu; enter regedit), and locate the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Sound key; set the value of Beep to no.

You can accomplish the same by downloading and double-clicking this file.

Turn beep and other sounds off in Control Panel
Finally, to disable beep and other noises, use Control Panel:
  1. Open Sounds and Audio Devices control panel (select Start - Settings - Control Panel - Sounds and Audio Devices).
  2. In the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box, click the Sounds tab.
  3. Select the No Sounds scheme (to reduce the number of retained sounds).
  4. Scroll through all items in the Program Events list box and change the Sounds option for every event (including System Beep) to None.

Some programs (e.g. Office Communicator 2007, Windows Messenger, NetMeeting, and more) can add entries to the Program Events section, so if you install these programs after turning off sounds, you may need to do it again (after installing these programs).

And for those of you who prefer to stay noise-free, here are some Windows sounds you may appreciate:

Additional references:
Disable the System Beep (in Windows Vista)
Silence Windows' Command Line Error Beep
Turn Off the Annoying Windows XP System Beeps


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this tip. It really freed me from the frustating sounds of XP

Yann Trevin said...

Aaah! At last, some silence!
Thanks for that useful post.

Unknown said...

Excellent post!

Anonymous said...

thanks, that was a simple solution

Daniel Yarmaliuk said...

This is what I was looking for. Would it make any difference if I have Win XP Media Center Edition or this works on every Win XP pc?

Alek Davis said...

I did not try it in Media Center, but I suspect that it should work with any version of XP.

Zic the Wyrdo said...


That thing has annoyed me off and on for many years now.

I'm not sure if this still works this way in Windows 7 (office computer is XP), but I'll be checking that out later.