A former Microsoft executive tells why he decided to remove the (annoying) startup sound from Windows, and why it hasn't returned

Jensen Harris is a historical Microsoft executive, and like many others, he has a YouTube channel in which he tells many battles of his time in the company, which lasted until 2014. And he is not just anybody, well He was director of the Windows User Experience team.

On his website he tells us some of the things he designed, and among them is the Outlook interface since 2001, the Ribbon redesign that came with Office 2007, as well as the (hated by many) Windows 8 and Surface interface.

As part of his role, he had to make decisions regarding system sounds, which were highly recognizable from Windows 95 to Windows 7. This was the last version of the system that had sound (by default) when the system started.


The startup sound was eliminated due to the inconvenience it caused in many scenarios.

Windows 10 No Sounds

If you have ever been to a library or have had to remain silent in a setting, such as at night with people sleeping around you, you will know that one of the great problems of computers is the startup sounds. On Macs, there was no easy way to eliminate the startup sound, and it could only be turned down by system volume.

The same thing happened in Windows, the sound depended on the system (although at least if you put headphones on the PC you prevented it from sounding through the speakers), with the advantage that from the sound settings it could be deactivated (today it comes like this by default, but you can activate and change).

If today you want to use the startup sound in Windows 10, by default deactivated, the one in Windows 7 will sound

The inconvenience caused by these sounds is what led Harris to propose to the team to eliminate them by default. And they did that in Windows 8. The former manager explains in the video the headaches caused by the sounds on his MacBook Pro:

"I had an experience around this time with my MacBook Pro. It was late at night, we had a new baby and I had to get up in the middle of the night. I really wanted to turn on the laptop to surf the web, but I couldn't remember if the volume was muted or not. I realized that I had a 50% chance of hitting the power button and hearing that loud startup sound, waking up my sleeping wife and my stunned baby, and I had no way of controlling it. "

"I chose to keep the laptop closed rather than risk it. And at the time, I had the idea that having the devices play a startup sound was a really bad feature for a device designed to be used in the most private and intimate spaces. of a person at any time of the day or night. "

Thus, after deciding to get rid of the sounds in 2010, he later wanted them to return, but due to the resources that were spent on sound at startup, the team discarded it and they have never returned to the system (by default). The funny thing is that by not having been raised from scratch as something that would be activated, Windows 10 has the same startup sound as Windows 7, something that we will check if we activate it.

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