Here’s why Microsoft removed the Windows Startup sound

Jensen Harris, the former Director of Program Management for the Windows User Experience team, explains in a new video the history of startup sounds in computers and what had happened to the Windows startup sound. The startup sound is no longer a part of Windows starting in Windows 8.


You may remember that older Windows version had their unique startup music that was played once the OS finished its boot sequence. That was since Windows 3.1 and ended with Windows 7, making Windows 8 the first "silent" release.

Harris names the number of reasons of the startup sound removal. The main reason is development of Windows on ARM and the increasingly mobile use of PCs. The company has begun monitoring how people use their computers, Harris said, with more people using laptop computers like laptops in multiple locations. Mobility came with other considerations. Also, the company began planning for the Surface platform, and that assumption shifted primarily to mobile devices when the team began porting the OS to ARM-based hardware.

Watch the video here:

Harris also mentioned that "a really bad feature for a device designed to be used in a person’s most private and intimate spaces at any time of day and night.", citing his personal experience of not wanting to open his MacBook at night while watching over his sleeping newborn daughter. This incident gave him an idea that the sound should be removed from the OS.

Harris says he later began to regret removing sound from the operating system. Microsoft actually attempted to bring back the Windows 8 startup sound at one point. However, the Windows Fundamentals team, which was optimizing the operating system's boot time, had already gotten rid of all the code needed to play this sound at boot, so the sound was permanently removed of faster startup speeds. Harris promises he’d share the startup sound initially created for Windows 8 version of the  in an upcoming video.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

5 thoughts on “Here’s why Microsoft removed the Windows Startup sound”

  1. I think that when you do not give users a choice whether to use it or silence it but you decide regardless it is not a good choice

  2. I liked the startup sound and I miss it. I have a collection of sexy little snippets from the PC game Bloodrayne I like to use.

    When I re-enable it with Winaero Tweaker it plays during wakeup but it breaks up. It stutters then gets a weird digital distortion, the exact same every time :(

    I seem to recollect that it did the same back when I ran W7 on my MSI Z87 Mobos, so I think it’s a hardware issue.

  3. Thanks for this interesting read and video. Windows 8 had a new audio jingle in C:\Windows\Media that was never played, so I guess that maybe this is the startup sound that Jensen is mentioning in his video:

    Also, I remember reading an interesting article on your blog about how the shutdown sound got killed too: – Sadly, again for performance reasons. However, I’m not sure why they removed the login/logoff sounds, maybe they did so just to be consistent with startup/shutdown sound removal.

    Just like Jensen, sounds are to me an important part of the user experience, and I’ve always been looking forward to hearing new sounds included in newer versions of Windows. I was somewhat saddened to discover that so many sounds were getting removed on Windows 8 and 10, so I ended up writing a tool to restore the ability to play the startup, shutdown, login and logoff sounds set in the usual registry keys, and included it in a project called “Sound Manager” that I put on my Github. Should you be interested by the functionality, feel free to use my code to expand the corresponding feature of Winaero Tweaker, or just ask if you need more details for implementing your own version of the tweak.

  4. I don’t like this old fat ugly guy deciding for everyone that the sounds at startup and exit Windows should be gone. Microsoft should fire this clown.

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