Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

All This Brouhaha Over a Freakin Sound?

I'm going to ask forgiveness in advance, but I have to get something off my chest.

The blogosphere proves once again that it has nothing better to do then argue over stupid, minute details. Now people are arguing over whether or not you should be allowed to disable the startup sound in Windows Vista. Yeah, I'm not kidding.

Yeah, the XP startup sound is annoying. Have you heard the new UAC sound yet? How about the new shutdown sound? The Vista sound will be a lot more mellow. So you won't blast the startup sound over your speakers. Plus, you can't shut the startup sound off on Macs, or other hardware devices... so what's the problem?

Are you seriously going to be in the store going "What, I can't turn the startup sound off? Screw those bastards! I'm buying a Mac. <pause> Oh, you can't turn it off there either? Screw those bastards! I'm off to spend 14 hours configuring Ubuntu Linux!" and walk out?

Complain about performance, complain about usability, complain about compatibility... Fine. But about a freakin sound? 99% of the world's population doesn't care about the damn sound, they just want to do what they need to do without something going wrong.

It's like saying that I can't talk about Christmas because YOU don't believe in it. Look, exercise your right to hit your mute button and get on with your day. Ugh. Seriously man, if you guys put this much effort into changing the rest of the world, maybe it wouldn't be so screwed up.

<end rant>



  • JoeM said:
    Agreed, They are going overboard, personally I would like to disable the sound.
    August 24, 2006 8:46 PM
  • Yes, 99% of the world does care about the sound, as I've mentioned other places.

    People don't want to be in situations like the library or around sleeping people with a laptop where the volume control is only through the software, and they forget to bring earbuds.

    This isn't an issue of geeks vs ordinary people.

    Will I buy a mac? No. I will find a hack to disable the sound. But I feel bad for those -ordinary users- who don't know about a hack. See, it isn't about me, it's about those 99% of users who I don't want to see discomforted.

    What is a shame is building a good OS with good performance, usability, and compatibility, and ruining the experience for a lot of people for something like this.
    August 25, 2006 1:14 AM
  • SvenC said:
    I do also see issues with laptops - mine does not have a "hardware" volume control. So I have to wait for the system to load the software support for my special volume keys. Which is too late for cold-boots where the sound even plays before I try to log on.
    There are too many situations where noise is a problem. How about being in a Teched track and every few seconds you here that famous startup sound. So laptops will be disallowed just like mobile phones.
    And just to give a cool startup experience. Makes no sense, does it?

    August 25, 2006 2:06 AM
  • You don't get it, do you?

    This issue isn't about a "sound." It's about Microsoft's arrogance and it's contempt for it's users and system administrators. If admins can turn off UAC, they should also be able to turn off this behavior.

    I don't really care about my home computer. I'll find a way to hack this.

    But back at work in the IT department, without a registry key or Group Policy setting to disable this behavior, Vista will *never* be deployed. Period.

    Every wonder why Apple has so little market share in Corporate America? And now Microsoft wants to be just like Apple. They are shooting themselves in the foot.
    August 25, 2006 8:13 AM
  • jpickett said:
    Not sure why you're so upset about people wanting to be able to customize their installation of Vista. Personally I disable all system sounds in Windows XP on my desktop, laptop, everything. I'm going to be disappointed if I'm unable to do the same in Vista.

    I consider sound customization part of the "usability" context. If I have stupid system sounds running all over the place, that affects my usability.
    August 25, 2006 9:56 AM
  • Please, don't fall on the Apple/MS diatribe too.

    Apple uses a startup sound, it's true, but:
    (1) If you shut down the computer with mute, it doesn't start with any sound.
    (2) If you poweron the Mac pressing the mute key, it doesn't make any startup sound.
    (3) (as far as I rememeber - and I don't want to poweroff my Mac now just to see - the Mac startup sound is a "bios" sound and not an "os" sound)
    (4) (usually a Mac notebook is kept in sleep state, so it's already running and doesn't need startup)

    This is a smart way to have a "branding" sound, without annoying... even if I could see issues even with this approach.

    I'm not trying to defend Apple, I'm trying to say that there are reasons and I think it will be wiser, for you, to avoid any Apple/MS citation, just to avoid the idiot fanboys from both sides... since this "issue" is a non-issue.

    Note: I don't know if Vista already behaves like a Mac, if that's the case, I think that's good both from a user point of view and from a branding point of view.
    I just wanted to make you know how Macs behaves to avoid stupid criticism by Mac fanboys... if you already knew that... just ignore my suggestions. :)

    Have a nice day :)
    August 26, 2006 9:54 AM
  • Howard said:
    QUOTE: "Complain about performance, complain about usability, complain about compatibility...Fine. But..."

    Funny, but I think that's EXACTLY what these users are doing...complaining about a feature that impairs usability, regardless of how trivial you might find the issue.

    QUOTE: "It's like saying that I can't talk about Christmas because YOU don't believe in it."

    Poor analogy. Nobody is disputing your right to talk about Christmas. These people are simply asking to have the ability to exercise THEIR right to not have to listen to you talk about Christmas.

    In case you hadn't noticed, users tend to get agitated when a simple, useful feature that they have taken for granted all along is suddenly removed, and the only clearly apparent reason seems to be marketing.

    August 27, 2006 12:30 PM
  • Just in case you'd rather not listen to the old Windows Startup Sound (not the new Fripp one) in builds 5472 and 5536, I've provided directions for removing it here:

    Herbert N Swearengen III
    August 29, 2006 8:57 AM