Restore Windows' startup sound, log-in / log-out, and shutdown sounds
Starting with Windows 8 (2012), Microsoft disabled the startup sound by default. The reason was performance: including the startup sound (among other things) increased Windows boot time by up to one second on current hardware. If you like hearing Windows chime when it comes to life, that tiny extra wait is well worth it. You can re-enable the startup sound by ticking a checkbox. I'll also show you how to restore the three other event sounds to your PC.
Turn on the startup sound
Let's start with the easiest: how to restore Windows' startup sound. Right-click on the volume icon in the taskbar (near the system clock), and choose "Sounds" from the context menu that opens.
This will open the old-school "Sound" popup, which has been around for many generations of Windows. Select its "Sounds" tab at the top:
Now check the "Play Windows Startup sound" checkbox at the bottom:
Click OK to save the change. If that's all you wanted from this tutorial, you are done. But if you stick around, you'll learn how to enable three more sounds.
Re-enable Windows' log-in, log-out, and shutdown sounds
To re-enable these three sounds, you'll need to use the
registry editor. It's an app designed for advanced users, so ask a nearby geek if you don't feel comfortable messing with it. Click on the start button (Windows logo), and type "
regedit". Click on the result with the cool-looking icon.
Let's now navigate to our final destination by double-clicking in turn on each of these "keys":
In the left pane, you should see the same thing as I do in the screenshot. We're now interested in all the keys displayed under
Each of our "events" (log-in, log-out, Windows shutdown) contains a key that tells Windows to hide that event from the Control Panel (abbreviated as "
CPL"). We're going to use the registry editor to change that, in four steps:
- First, you'll find in the left pane the key I'll mention, and click on it.
- Then, on the right side, you'll double-click on the "
- Then, you'll change that "value data" from a
1to a zero.
- Finally, you'll click OK to save the change:
First, find the "
SystemExit" key, which controls the Windows shutdown sound. Now follow each step to change the corresponding
Now find the "
WindowsLogoff" key on the left, which is tied to you logging-out (signing-out) of Windows. Follow each of the four steps.
Finally, select the "
WindowsLogon" key, which is right below: that's tied to you logging into (signing into) Windows. Follow the four steps for it too.
You now need to restart your computer in order to see the sounds we just re-enabled. (On the upside, you'll get to experience your new startup sound.) Close all your windows and restart your PC. See you on the other side of that reboot.
Pick a sound for log-in, log-off, and shutdown
Now that you've restarted your PC, right-click again on the speaker icon in the taskbar, next to the system clock. Choose "Sounds" from the context menu.
That Sounds popup now includes the three events we've re-enabled. You'll find the Windows-shutdown event listed under the letter E, as "Exit Windows". Click on that entry, and pick a sound from the dropdown. You can use the default "Windows Shutdown" sound, or any other in the dropdown. To pick an sound of your own, click on the Browse button and pick a sound file:
You can then follow the same steps for the Windows Logon and Windows Logoff events in the list. They both have a matching sound file. Whatever sound you pick, you can click on the "Test" button to preview what it sounds like:
Click OK once you're done. The next time you shutdown or restart Windows, you'll get to hear the sound you selected - same thing for signing in and signing out. (These terms are interchangeable with logon, logoff, log in, and log out.)