Knowledge Base

How do I Change Sounds in Windows XP?

The following information is from Microsoft's Knowledge Base

Just as you can change the ring on your phone, you can personalize the sounds that your computer makes when different things happen, such as when you turn on your computer and Microsoft Windows XP starts, when you connect to a wireless network, when you receive an e-mail or an instant message, and for dozens of other events.

To obtain sounds, you can search the Web for sound clips from your favorite songs, TV shows, and movies, and then download the clips to your computer. If you want to record your own sound clips, copy sound clips from a CD or DVD, or save anything else you can hear through your computer speakers, you can use Sound Recorder—a basic sound program that comes with Windows XP. Then, you can assign the sounds to events on your computer. For example, you can set up your computer to greet you when it starts with the voice of a friend or family member saying, “Good morning,” or to play a snippet from a favorite song to announce instant messages.

Note: Sounds have to be in the .wav format—you can't use .mp3 or .wma sounds.

Once you've downloaded or recorded some sounds, you can set them up to play in Windows.

To change the sound associated with a program event


Log on to your computer as an administrator. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

Start menu with Control Panel selected


Click Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices.

Control Panel with Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices selected


Click Change the sound scheme. The Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices Properties dialog box appears.

Pick a Task in Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices Properties dialog box with Change the sound scheme selected


In the Program events list, click an event. Then, click the Play button to listen to the sound currently assigned to the event. The sound probably sounds familiar. If you decide to change it, you'll hear your new sound in place of the current sound.

Sounds tab in Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box with item in Program events list selected


To change the sound, click the Sounds list down arrow, and select a different system sound. To choose a sound that you have downloaded or recorded, click the Browse button, select the sound, and then click OK. Click the Play button again to preview the sound.

Sounds list with sound selections displayed


Repeat steps 4 and 5 to change more sounds assigned to program events. When you are satisfied with your sounds, click Save As.

Sounds tab with Save As button selected in Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box


In the Save Scheme As dialog box, type a name for your scheme, and then click OK.

Save Scheme As dialog box


In the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box, click OK.

Sounds tab in Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box with OK button selected

After you’ve created a personalized sound scheme for your computer, you may find you want to update the sounds on a regular basis.