How to customize the sound scheme used on your Windows computer

Windows has a set of sounds applied to events and programs, such as "Close Program", "Default Beep", "Maximize", "Minimize", etc. The collection of all these sounds is called a sound scheme and is associated with a Windows theme. For example, the themes that come bundled with Windows are using the Windows Default sound scheme. When you change your Windows theme, the sound scheme is also changed according to the new theme's settings. If you are not happy with a certain sound scheme, you can easily customize it so that it uses the sounds you want. You can even create your own sound schemes. Let's see how it all works.

NOTE: This guide works for all modern Windows versions: Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

How to open the Sound window in Windows 10

If you want to customize the sound scheme, first, you need to open the Sound window. And the fastest method to open the Sound window in Windows 10 is to use Cortana’s search powers. In her search box from the taskbar, enter the word sound and then click or tap on the “Change system sounds” result.

If you prefer to point and click all the way, you can also use the Settings app. Start by opening it with a click or tap on its icon from the Start Menu.

In the Settings app, go to Personalization and select Themes in the left menu. Then, on the right side of the window, click or tap on Advanced sound settings.

And, a third way to open the Sound window in Windows 10, is to use the old Control Panel. To quickly open it, right-click or tap and hold on the Start Menu icon, and then click or tap on the Control Panel shortcut.

Inside Control Panel, go to Hardware and Sound and then click or tap on the Change system sounds link from the Sound section.

This is what the Sound window looks like in Windows 10:

How to open the Sound window in Windows 8.1

In Windows 8.1, switch to the Start screen, and start typing “system sounds” on it. Once the search results are displayed, click or tap on “Change system sounds”.

Or, if you prefer, open the Control Panel. A fast way to launch it is to right-click or tap and hold on the Windows icon from the bottom left corner of the screen, and then click or tap on the Control Panel shortcut.

In the Control Panel, go to Hardware and Sound. Then, click or tap on “Change system sounds”, in the Sound section.

The Sound window will look like this:

How to open the Sound window in Windows 7

In Windows 7, start by typing sound into the Start Menu search box. Then, click on the “Change system sounds” search result.

Or, if you prefer the long way, open the Control Panel (by clicking on its shortcut from the Start Menu), then go to Hardware and Sound, and then click on the “Change system sounds” link from the Sound section.

This is what the Sound window looks like in Windows 7:

NOTE: From this point on, everything looks and works the same regardless of the operating system you use: Windows 10, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. For simplicity, and because it’s the most used operating system to date, we’ll use screenshots taken only in Windows 10.

How to change the active sound scheme

You can change the scheme used by your current Windows theme by choosing another, from the list of available sound schemes. There you will find an entry named Sound Scheme and a drop-down list. A click or tap on it displays the sounds schemes installed on your computer or device. This is where you can select the new sound scheme you want to be applied.

If you like your computer to stay silent, there is always a "No Sounds" scheme available. Switch to it if you don't want any sounds to be played while using Windows.

An important difference related to sound schemes between Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 is that Windows 7 has many more pre-installed sound schemes, many of which also existed in earlier versions of Windows, like in Windows Vista or Windows XP. Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, on the other hand, have only two sound schemes: Windows Default and No Sounds.

Go to the next page of this guide and learn how to customize an existing sound scheme, how to create and save a sound scheme and how to delete one, when you no longer want to use it.