Start me up
October 21, 2007 7:03 PM   Subscribe

Windows Startup Sounds - 1.0 to 98 to ME to Vista watch. A piano composition incorporating the sound effects heard in Windows. A different Windows remix (All YT). To get embarrassed at a public library, press here. To disable, press here. Previously-posted I’m sure: Windows noises & Icon Wars.
posted by growabrain (31 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
And now for the Democratic response.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:32 PM on October 21, 2007 [2 favorites]

Very timely, as my new Vista laptop was just delivered today. I was surprised by how many of the sounds from your first link I had never heard. Probably the enterprise editions. I particularly liked the light vocal one toward the end.

A year ago, NPR ran a story about crafting Vista's new sound (wow, has it really been that long?!).
posted by metabrilliant at 7:35 PM on October 21, 2007

I wouldn't have expected old windows boot sounds to fill me with such a sense of nostalgia, esp. considering that even then it wasn't my OS of choice. Great find.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:38 PM on October 21, 2007

What sucks is that youtube still hasn't fixed their lame-ass synch, and the audio gets way off in the first video.
posted by delmoi at 7:45 PM on October 21, 2007

posted by tomplus2 at 7:45 PM on October 21, 2007

I would like to know how to replace the little noise my Mac Mini makes when it turns on with the windows XP startup noise. Just to freak some people out.
posted by tomble at 7:48 PM on October 21, 2007

What I find weird about this is realizing these sounds are part of a collective experience of computing. That is, I experienced them alone, in front of a computer, and therefore filed them under my personal experiences in my brain. Seeing things like this (or hearing that NPR piece) reminds me that millions of other people also experienced these sounds -- alone. Not that it's very meaningful, just that it's a strange feeling of miscategorization. I wonder if anyone else can put this feeling into better words than I can.

(I feel like I heard that NPR piece on my way to work maybe 2 months ago.)
posted by knave at 7:49 PM on October 21, 2007

That brought back some memories. Thanks!
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 7:57 PM on October 21, 2007

Wow. This must be what Microsoft/Windows fanboys do with their spare time. We're through the looking glass, people.
posted by MrGuilt at 8:10 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Powerbook start-up sound prank
posted by Poolio at 8:12 PM on October 21, 2007

The powerbook prank was hilarious! The volume on those Macs isn't that good tho.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 8:23 PM on October 21, 2007

The powerbook prank was hilarious!

If you liked that, you should check out some of Prangstgrup's other videos.
posted by Poolio at 8:38 PM on October 21, 2007

Eno's windows startup
posted by jcruelty at 8:43 PM on October 21, 2007

I'm disappointed that "Windows noises" didn't turn into NIN's "Closer."
posted by katillathehun at 8:44 PM on October 21, 2007

I'm disappointed that "Windows noises" didn't turn into NIN's "Closer."

I want to blue screen like an animal
I want to feel your Intel inside
I want to blue screen like an animal
You bring me closer to DOS
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:02 PM on October 21, 2007 [6 favorites]

omg what a fun post growabrain! Laughed until I cried with the library pwnage one. Amazing piano music, playing it now, quite lovely. Enjoyed hearing the evolution of windows' sounds. Wonder who cooks up the music and why they chose the themes the way they did?

Ok, so I did a google and found an interesting story to add to this thread:

NuJazzPhilosophy wrote to me with an interesting fact:

"Just in case you did not already know this:

In 1994 Eno was approached by Mark Malamud and Erik Gavriluk, senior designers at Microsoft on the Cairo project. The result was the start-up sound for the Windows 95 operating system (which Eno created on his Apple Macintosh). From an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle:

The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, "Here's a specific problem – solve it." The thing from the agency said, "We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional," this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said "and it must be 3¼ seconds long." I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It's like making a tiny little jewel. In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.

From: Brian Eno - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia"

I wonder if he got royalties for each play....

Imagine if he got royalties for each play. Nice twist that he created the Windows sound on his Apple Mac.

The Microsoft Sound. Tiny Music Makers.
posted by nickyskye at 9:24 PM on October 21, 2007

And for bonus retro value, here's one of the music videos packaged with Windows 95. Ahh... the old days.
posted by zek at 9:34 PM on October 21, 2007

Many corporations spend big to design the ambient, nearly-subconscious elements of their products. I read once about the $5MM(?) program at BMW of the "female" voice of the their GPS navigation, etc.
posted by growabrain at 9:36 PM on October 21, 2007

Robert Fripp was brought in to work on Vista sounds, but I seem to recall reading that they didn't end up using any of his work.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:46 PM on October 21, 2007

I'd love to hear all the almost-made-it pieces.
posted by delmoi at 10:14 PM on October 21, 2007

I'm kind of amazed to learn that they spend so much effort coming up with those sounds. I've always found them incredibly annoying, and the first thing I always do upon firing up a computer for the first time (or after a fresh install of an operating system) is to turn those damned sounds off. I think pretty much everyone I know does the same. I wonder how many people out there get filled with warm and fuzzy feelings when their computers vociferously announce their reawakening. Still, that Windows remix was cool.
posted by epimorph at 10:25 PM on October 21, 2007

Nice post, growabrain! And thanks, JKF, for the Mac version.

Interesting quotes from Eno that you included in your comment, nickyskye. The whole sound logo culture is a very interesting phenomenon, isn't it? I don't always like it, especially, but it is interesting. I could relate a bit to what Eno was saying about micro-music: though I haven't done any sound logo work, I have on several occasions composed music for TV commercials, both in the States and more recently in Japan, and it's a very challenging thing, working within these very tight time frames (15, 30 or 60 seconds). I must say, I've mostly had fun with it. Used to know some folks back in NYC who do it all the time, however, and it can start to eat your soul if you let it.

One other thought: what's most depressing about the sound logos, I find, is their samey-ness. They're pretty predictable.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:43 PM on October 21, 2007

This isn't the startups sound, but when you first install win98 chinese edition, it gives you a splash screen where it presumably (I can't read chinese) welcomes you and offers to show you the tutorial.

It plays this
posted by aubilenon at 12:03 AM on October 22, 2007

epimorph, I used to do that. These days, though, I never bother, because I so rarely restart the machine.

One thing you have to give XP: if you keep it clear of malware, it's exceedingly stable. It's quite possible to go for a month at a time without hearing the startup sound. :)

(you could probably go longer, but Patch Tuesday makes that difficult.)
posted by Malor at 1:31 AM on October 22, 2007

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:51 AM on October 22, 2007

I'd never really thought about it until now, but why does Windows even have a startup sound? It's not like Windows has actually accomplished anything at that point. Perhaps the Windows startup sound is the PC trying to convey the following two concepts:

1) "Behold! I have started up without shitting the bed! Huzzah!"
2) "But wait! We haven't even really started yet! This is gonna be sooooo awesome!"

I have to admit, the sounds themselves, particularly the newer, mode melodic ones - they're so hopeful, so full of promise - they're finely-crafted little sonic soothers that ooze calm and confidence, almost enough to distract you from how much the rest of the Windows "experience" sucks ass.

And then you start up Word and your screen is covered in floating menu bars that have somehow moved themselves around, and goddamnit where the hell is the "Standard" menu bar? Where did it go? And now something else is happening in the background and Windows has gone into that mode where it can't really redraw the screen properly and when you move a window it leaves a trail of window images behind it and it's all you can do to restrain the rage until you punch the CTRL-ALT-DEL keys and you force Windows to shut down and it sits there for about 30 seconds and then says something lame like "I tried to shut down Word but it's not responding - would you like to shut down now?" and you wonder a) what the hell has Windows been doing all this time? b) why is it asking me if I want to shut down Word? I already told it to reboot and c) who's in charge here? I mean, Word is supposed to be an application, and Windows is supposed to be an operating system and it can't shut down Word? WTF?

So then in a fit of anger you hit the power button, shut down the piece of crap and then you reboot and ... there's that goddamn startup sound again! But now you feel vaguely calm and relaxed and confident and it's all going to be just fine. Aaaaaaaah.

And then you log in again ...
posted by kcds at 5:44 AM on October 22, 2007

Ha! The piano composition in the second video is so cute.
posted by tepidmonkey at 5:45 AM on October 22, 2007

I've been using this startup sound for almost seven years, now.
posted by dansdata at 9:46 AM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]

How cute, a Microsoft design flaws rant, the 'I walked to school 5 miles in the snow uphill both ways' grandpa-spiel of the 21st century.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:41 PM on October 22, 2007

I remember Win98 shutting down with a wav of kids laughing. Anyone have it or know where I might find it?
posted by deborah at 1:01 PM on October 23, 2007

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