Windows will play a sound when you log on, if your battery is running low and if you encounter an error. But what if you want to mix things up a bit and change the sound scheme for your computer?
Most people will customise their wallpaper or screensaver, but let’s take it one step further by altering sound. A lightsaber swoosh when you receive an email? A famous movie quote when you shut down? The sky is the limit!
This guide will briefly walk you through how to change your sound scheme and point you to some of the best places to download alternative audio.
Alter Individual Sounds Or Set A Scheme
It’s simple and quick to get customising your sounds. Windows 7 comes with a good number of preinstalled sound schemes, meaning you can switch to a whole new set in seconds. Sadly, Windows 8 doesn’t offer any of these different schemes. The only choices are the default pack or having no sound at all.
Fear not, however, because it’s possible to build your own scheme and customise it exactly how you like. Like a Star Trek sound scheme, for example! You can either change specific sounds or go all the way and alter everything.
Changing your sound scheme is a really easy process. You can go ahead and change them all or just alter them as you see fit. For details on how to go about setting your custom sounds, be sure to check out our customising your Windows sound effects guide.
Top Resources For Sound Downloads
Now you know how to customise your sound schemes, it’s just a case of picking out those perfect audio files. If you don’t have any suitable choices, take a gander at the list below for some free resources.
It’s important to note that you can only use .wav files for your audio files. If you’re using your own clips, rather than those from the specialised sites below, it’s likely they’ll be in .mp3 format or similar. Don’t fear, it’s not a problem – you’ll just need to convert your audio files before Windows will let them be used. Happily, you can use a handy free and online tool called media.io to convert your files.
These are some of the top resources we found, but be sure to visit the comment section below to add your own suggestions.
There’s a load of variety on offer at FindSounds because it searches all over the web to hunt down the audio. Whether you want your computer to play a different guitar chord for every event, fancy some animal noises to get you in the jungle spirit, or want a Simpsons makeover, FindSounds has got you covered.
FindSounds is still going strong to this day. In fact, this coming August will be the fifteenth year that the site has been live. Just type in what you’re looking for and click Search or you can view their list of examples to get the inspiration flowing.
Freesound is incredibly active and new sounds are constantly being added from users all over the globe. There are over a quarter of a million sound effects and counting, making it a hugely varied source. There’s the standard stuff that you can expect, like nature noises and drum beats, but there’s also more unusual choices like the ambient noise inside a walk in freezer.
You don’t even have to convert anything since you can sort all the results by file type, meaning you can pick out the .wav files that’ll keep Windows happy. Also, the site was recently updated to include a new feature that allows you to follow specific users or tags. You’ll then be notified whenever these are updated through weekly emails, which is great for those who like to keep their sounds fresh.
Sound effects and music tracks aplenty are on offer at freeSFX. Grab a comical squish, the chug of a train or the fax modem signal (just in case you miss the olden days). There are even very specific, specialised noises, which make freeSFX a unique place.
There’s also a variety of royalty free music, should you want to opt for some lengthier tunes to accompany your Windows actions. You might want to use this as your log in sound in order to start the day with a track you enjoy – opting for smooth jazz, for example, is a sure-fire way to keep calm!
SoundPackager is different from the others on the list. While those above are websites to download sounds from, SoundPackager is a program that aims to make changing your sound schemes a breeze. It’s developed by Stardocks, the guys behind some popular Windows customisation tools like ObjectDock.
The program allows you to apply new sound schemes with a single click. You can also create your own sound packages or edit the existing ones with ease. The only downside is that the program costs $9.99 (with a 30 day trial), though if you’re keen on sound customisation it may be worthwhile.
There is also a supporting site called WinCustomize, which is great because you can download full themed sets instantly. While the site isn’t really active anymore, it still has a decent archive of sets that might have you covered.
If you want to kit your computer out with Team Fortress 2, Knight Rider or Zelda, then this is a great place to go. There’s even schemes on there that you probably wouldn’t think of, but may appeal – a whole Justin Timberlake set, for example!
Had enough of all this talk of sound? Want to mute everything and live in a silent world of computer browsing? We’ve got you sorted, with our detailed guide on how to mute your Windows audio.
For those of you who do like a bit of noise, go ahead and customise your Windows schemes to your heart’s content. You can make as many as you like, allowing you to switch things up when different moods strike.
Have you ever customised your Windows sound schemes? What resources do you use to find good sounds?