Be quiet!

This Friday I entered into battle with my new work laptop, and came out victorious.

It just wouldn’t shut up.

The Windows startup sound is allegedly composed/designed by Brian Eno — I can appreciate the coolness of that, but I can’t accept that every time I boot my machine it should scare me senseless playing a chaotic tune.

I’ve taken to choosing the No sounds theme in Control Panel to get rid of surprises like that, but on Friday the laptop started its counter-attack. Whenever I received an e-mail in my newly configured Outlook, the PC speaker went ”Plunk” at an embarrassing volume.

Browsing around the Outlook settings I finally found the ”Play a sound” checkbox, and unticked it. Then, all of a sudden I got an IM, and there goes the ”Plunk” again. I had no idea, but apparently Windows Messenger is configured to play a sound whenever a message is received. It turned out to be a group conversation, so plunking was plentiful.

Then someone gave me a tip I never want to forget: the PC beep can be disabled. Apparently, it’s powered by its own dedicated driver, called beep.sys, that can be disabled from Device Manager, provided you select ”Show hidden devices” on the View menu. Reboot, and your PC will not utter another beep.

So far, it looks like I’ve won the battle, but I’m sure the Dell is planning some sonic revenge.



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