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Have you ever pulled out your laptop in public and had to fumble for the mute button as its speakers blasted loud sounds? Or have you used your computer late at night and accidentally woke people up when a video appeared on a webpage? Unfortunately, our computers can’t read minds (yet) and don’t know when we want them silent and when we want them loud. There are some settings you can tweak – and a useful application you can install – that will hold you over until our computers become mind readers.
On most laptops, you can also quickly press the mute key on your keyboard to quiet down your computer. You’ll probably need to hold the Fn (function) key while pressing it.
Windows Startup & System Sounds
The Windows startup sound is a classic sound that will occasionally play accidentally in public. If you have the startup sound set to play and you need to boot your laptop, there’s no getting around it — that sound is going to play unless you muted your laptop before shutting it down. People often laugh a bit if they hear this sound in public – it’s a sign that someone forgot to mute their laptop’s speakers before powering it on.
You can disable this sound (and other Windows notification sounds) from the Sounds control panel – right-click the speaker icon in your system tray and select Sounds to open it. From here, you can control whether the Windows Startup sound plays. If you also want to disable other Windows system sounds, click the Sound Scheme box and select No Sounds. If you’d rather disable specific sounds, you can do that from the list.
Web Page Sounds
The browser is another classic cause of surprise sounds. Browsers don’t have mute buttons, and navigating to a page with a video that automatically plays can result in your computer’s speakers suddenly blasting sound – which could be particularly embarrassing, depending on the video. Browsers don’t come with mute buttons, but you can adjust their volume settings with the Windows volume mixer – right-click the speaker icon in your system tray and select Open Volume Mixer to open it.
Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t remember the volume levels you set here – the next time you close and reopen your browser, it will use the default volume setting. However, if you leave your browser running and want to ensure that a video on a web page doesn’t start blaring out of your speakers, you can mute or reduce your browser’s volume level from here.
Softorino’s Volume Concierge allows you to define rules that control your computer’s volume levels on a schedule. For example, you can automatically turn down the volume late at night, or mute your laptop during the hours when you generally use it in public. Volume Concierge is free, but you’ll have to provide an email address to use it.
To use it, click the Add New Volume Rule button and slide the new rule’s switch to On. Specify whether the rule should work every day, on work days, or on weekends. Finally, set a time and a desired volume level. At your specified time, Volume Concierge will automatically adjust your computer’s volume level to the level you chose.
How do you prevent your laptop’s speakers from blasting sound in public or late at night? Leave a comment and share your tips and tricks!