There’s something magical about the Windows 95 startup sound (maybe owing to the fact that it was created by the great Brian Eno). I thought it’d be simple to use the nostalgic noise as my Windows 11 startup sound but was unpleasantly surprised to find that it’s actually deceptively difficult.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants Windows to greet me with a nice jingle, so this tutorial will show you how to bring back a startup sound to Windows 11 (or Windows 10) and (if you so wish) replace it with quite possibly the best OS startup sound of them all.
Switch Off Fast Boot
You’ve probably noticed by now that when you shut down your Windows 11 PC, you can magically turn it on again by pressing any key on your keyboard instead of the Power button on your machine. This is thanks to the “Fast Boot” feature in Windows 11, which essentially hibernates your PC, shutting it down but keeping your session, drivers and so-on dormant in the hibernation file, ready to spring back into action as soon as you turn your PC on.
Fast boot can speed up boot time, though its effects aren’t significant and some people have even reported that it slows down their boot time. It also prevents Windows from greeting you with a jingle because Windows doesn’t think your PC was actually shut down in the first place.
Switching off Fast Boot can restore your startup sound. To do this, click Start, type
control panel, then click “Control Panel” in the search results. Select “Power Options.” If you don’t see this, change the “View by” at the top right to “Large icons.”
In the Power Options window, click “Choose what the power buttons do,” then uncheck the “Turn on fast start-up” box. If it’s greyed out, click “Change Settings that are currently unavailable,” then untick the box.
Enable Windows Startup Sound
Next, we need to go to the sound options in Windows 11. Go to Start and type “Change system sounds.” Choose the result. Or, in the notification area at the bottom-right corner of your desktop, right-click the speaker icon, then click “Sound settings.” In Windows 10, choose “Sounds” instead.
In the System sound settings window, scroll to the bottom in the right pane and select “More sound settings.” In Windows 10, you should already be in the correct window.
In the Sound window, click the Sounds tab, then tick the “Play Windows Start-up sound” box. Your PC should now play a jingle whenever it boots. If you’re content with the Windows 10 startup sound, you can stop now. If you want to indulge your nostalgia and replace it with the Windows 95 jingle (or any other sound for that matter), read on.
Downloading the Windows 95 Startup Sound
If you want to add another startup sound to Windows 11 beyond the defaults, you’ll need to use a “.wav” file or convert an existing audio file to a .wav file. This is simple to do, and you can use a free online converter like online-convert or media.io to do it. You can also use VLC Media Player.
If you want to use the Windows 95 jingle like me, you can download it from here by right-clicking the little WAV logo and clicking “Save link as.” If you have any trouble downloading from here, try Orange Free Sounds instead.
Once you have your .wav file, it’d seem logical to change the startup sound from the Sound settings window, but for some reason, this option is missing.
Replacing the Windows 11 Startup Sound
Windows 11 makes it slightly difficult to change the startup or logon sound. If you open the Sounds window where you enabled the startup sound, you’ll notice there isn’t a logon or startup sound option listed in the list of available system events to change.
For Windows 10 users, the process works pretty much the same, but you shouldn’t have to change the registry. Make sure you’re running the latest version of Windows 10, though. Early versions don’t have an option to add sounds directly from the Sounds settings window.
To add the logon/startup option to the list, you’ll need to edit the registry. Type Win + R and type
regedit. Press OK to open the registry editor.
Navigate to the following area:
Double-click “ExcludeFromCPL” and change its value to 0 (zero). This prevents Windows from hiding the setting from you.
Press OK and exit the registry editor. Now, go back to the Sound settings (Start -> type “Change system sounds,” select “Change system sounds”). Open the Sounds tab.
Now, under the Windows section of the list, scroll down until you see “Windows logon.”
There are two ways to add your Windows 95 startup sound as an option in the Sounds drop down box. First, select “Browse.” Navigate to your sound and select it.
Or, open File Explorer and add your startup sound file to “C:\Windows\Media”
Replace C with whatever drive letter Windows is installed on. Either method will add your sound to the list.
Select your Windows 95 startup sound as the logon sound and press Apply. You’ll obviously need to restart your system to experience the nostalgia of the classic startup sound.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why isn’t my sound showing up in the list?
First, make sure you have a .wav file. Depending on where you downloaded the file, it may be a .mp3 instead. You can always convert it.
Second, check that the sound file actually works. Play it in your chosen media player. If it’s corrupted somehow, Windows may not recognize i.t
2. How can I change other system sounds?
Follow the same process as with changing the startup sound. However, select the system event from the Sounds list that you want to change. Then, just select whatever custom sound you want to use. Feel free to get creative. You don’t have to just use old Windows sounds. Just ensure you’re using short .wav clips.
3. Why doesn’t Windows 11 have a startup sound by default?
Microsoft chose to disable the startup sound beginning with Windows 8. Many users simply didn’t like having a sound play when they started their PCs. Plus, sleep and hibernate modes became more popular.
Of course, this is why you also have the option to enable the startup sound in the Sounds settings.
4. Why aren’t any sounds playing when I start my PC?
While it might seem overly obvious, check that your speakers are on. If you’re using Bluetooth speakers, you likely won’t hear a startup sound because your PC doesn’t connect to Bluetooth devices immediately.
Also, check that your speakers are working. Play any audio you like on your PC to make sure all is well. You can also use our troubleshooting guide if you’re having issues with Windows sound.
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