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Vista Startup Sound to be Mandatory? 865

Toreo asesino writes "There has been lots of debate in the past few days over Microsoft's plan to make the startup sound in Windows Vista something that can't be specifically silenced by changing the sound settings in the control panel. Users would be able to avoid hearing it by manually turning down the speaker volume, but then they would have to turn that volume back up to hear anything else."
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Vista Startup Sound to be Mandatory?

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  • wait until everyone learns that the new start up sound is the microsoft eula, read out loud, in nonrepeating segments
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:27PM (#16020885)

    This is a typical case of product-focused vs. user-focused thinking.

    Has it occured to anyone that a user might just wake up early morning and wants to turn on his/her computer without waking up sleeping family members?

    For this very reason one of the first setup steps I always do on a new machine is to turn off the startup sign.

    • by Aeiri ( 713218 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:50PM (#16021031)
      Has it occured to anyone that a user might just wake up early morning and wants to turn on his/her computer without waking up sleeping family members?

      Just today I walked into the "Maximum Quiet Study Area" for our univerisity's library, and popped open my laptop and turned it on. My gkrellm instance sounded my "alert" sound (which is actually very rare, the load was too high from the boot apparently), and I rushed to hit the mute button.

      The startup sound on Vista would be before any multimedia keys are registered if it's at all like XP is, and that wouldn't have worked. Laptop speakers don't have volume control!

      If Vista does require this, and I hear someone turn on their laptop with "welcome to Windows Vista!", I'm going to throw their laptop out a window, no pun intended.
    • by WoLpH ( 699064 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:05PM (#16021132)
      Not just the startup sound, but all of the sounds, like I want to hear if I click my mouse, my mouse can make that sound on its own, and I don't need a sound every time one of those alert buttons pop up, they are on top anyway so I'll see them, right?

      But then again, with OSX it isn't possible to disable the startup sound either (or so I've heard) so if people would make a fuss about this, then why not continue at apple?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by anagama ( 611277 )
        You've heard wrong. Just set the volume to 0. Shutdown. Press the power buttun and the machine starts silently (well, at least the laptops do -- I don't know about desktops).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        But OS X users don't restart their computers, so the point is moot.

        I rarely shut down my MacBook Pro or the Powerbook I used before that - I just put it to sleep by closing the lid and open the lid the next time I want to use it.

        I only have to restart because of the occasional system software update that requires a restart. Otherwise I'm golden.
        • by Dhalka226 ( 559740 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @12:05AM (#16021717)

          But Apple can do no wrong here on /., so the point is moot.

          There. I fixed it for you.

          Look, this is either an idiotic thing that should be an option controllable by the user or it's not, and whichever it is, it is regardless of how many times somebody might reboot their computer.

          It never ceases to amaze me how many excuses people here can come up with for why their double standards aren't double standards. I expect no less than 5-6 more in reply to this post.

    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @12:25AM (#16021802) Homepage Journal
      For this very reason one of the first setup steps I always do on a new machine is to turn off the startup sign.

      I do it because having some corny sound play every time I reboot is just too much to bear.

      What really bugs me is that Scoble says he can "see both sides" of the issue. What kind of workplace culture does Microsoft have, where they'd even consider imposing such an obnoxious feature?

      This isn't going to happen, of course. The "you have got to be kidding" emails must be already pouring in. But the fact that this is an issue says nasty things about the Redmond mentality.

      • by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:55AM (#16023350)

        What really bugs me is that Scoble says he can "see both sides" of the issue. What kind of workplace culture does Microsoft have, where they'd even consider imposing such an obnoxious feature?

        I'll guarantee they've contracted work to some "user experience" guru who says some crap about how sound is a more primal sense than sight, and that to properly brand Windows you have to associate it with a sound, and that this sound must always be associated with Windows.

        Of course, what they haven't thought of is that you don't want to associate your OS with a reboot these days. So this might backfire on them.

  • by eyegee88 ( 826176 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:28PM (#16020889)
    Seems the least of our worries, we'll just await the first hack that makes sure the sample doesnt play.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dayid ( 802168 ) * can I still run windows on all my machines that don't have any speakers because they're office/production machines with no need for it or are they going to require a soundcard and speakers to run it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:29PM (#16020896)
    Delete or Rename the file? or has that functionality not made it into the filesystem yet?
    • by FLEB ( 312391 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:39PM (#16020968) Homepage Journal

      No, I imagine it'll involve subtly hacking a grafted-on Windows 2000 version of NTOSKRNL.DLL while fending off the frothing-at-the-mouth system-file protection and changing HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\SystemEnhanc ementLayer\{0092-02D1-26E5-0990}\Security\Initiali zationProtocolIsTrue to 210 (decimal), then making sure never to install any patches.
  • by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:29PM (#16020897) Journal
    The Mac startup sound has always been mandatory. Don't like it? Plug in your headphones for a second... The stuff that makes front page these days *sigh*
  • What in the world? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperMog2002 ( 702837 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:29PM (#16020898)
    Do they seriously think annoying the users who care enough about their systems to turn off the Windows startup sound in the first place is really a good idea?
  • by jleq ( 766550 ) <> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:30PM (#16020904)
    They will have to come up with some kind of way to turn it off. The majority of broadcast automation applications still run on Windows. When I worked at KDKD, we had all the on-air PCs set to "No Sounds"... It's always funny to hear a Windows sound on the radio.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Toby_Tyke ( 797359 )
      They will have to come up with some kind of way to turn it off.

      They already did. You turn off the speakers. Or, if your speakers don't have an independent power switch (say they're built into your monitor), then just mute the sound in windows. I don't know about Vista, but XP stays muted after you reboot.

      I really don't see this as a big deal. I normally only turn on my speakers after my computer has booted, so I rarely, if ever, hear a startup sound. I can see it annoying notebook users, since they often
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Megane ( 129182 )

        I don't know about Vista, but XP stays muted after you reboot.

        Until they decide that the branding is so important that they have to override the volume setting to play the sound. I can hear the meeting somewhere in the bowels of Microsoft... "Since we don't know what volume level it should be if the user mutes the sound, we'll just play at at maximum volume, no matter what the volume setting is." (I can't wait for the first hearing impairment lawsuit for someone getting blasted with that sound while wea

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 01, 2006 @12:25AM (#16021797)
        Broadcast automation software -the thing radio stations use to play commercials, news clips, pre-recorded programs, etc- uses the audio line-out to feed the sound to the transmitter.

        The sound can't be disabled because that's the whole point of having the automation software in the first place.

        Any bleeps or bloops or Windows logo noises will get picked up and passed along with the program material and broadcast to the five people still listening to broadcast radio. Who the hell wants to hear Windows sound effects on their radio? All that stuff has to be turned off or killed or deleted or something, leaving a pure program audio feed on the line-out.

        The same goes for offline audio workstations, such as one I have in my home. The boot noise is not so much an issue for me, but I can't have sound effect-equipped dialog boxes ruining my work. Right now, this is easy to deal with in XP.

        If Vista makes this impossible, then they've just closed the upgrade door on themselves. What I do now in XP, I can also do in linux and I will make that move if I have to do that to get the recordings I need. Honestly, XP Pro works so well for me right now, I can't see any reason to move to Vista.
  • Bottom line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:30PM (#16020905) Homepage
    Here's the bottom line: If you have to ask the question, "Should the user be able to change this?" then the answer is: YES.
    • Re:Bottom line (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:07PM (#16021144)
      Here's the bottom line: If you have to ask the question, "Should the user be able to change this?" then the answer is: YES.

      Actually, from a software design point of view, that's not necessarily the correct answer. If you make everything configurable that every user would possibly want to change, then you're looking at a UI that's going to be almost impossible to navigate, at least when you're talking about an OS the size of Vista. That said, I think this is a case where it should be something the user can change.
      • Re:Bottom line (Score:5, Informative)

        by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:31PM (#16021275) Homepage
        Mozilla Firefox is a counter-example to this argument. There are about a bazillion things you can change by entering "about:config" in the url bar. The vast majority can't be changed via the menus and thus don't clutter the UI. Yet they're readily available for anyone who does want to change them.
  • by crumbz ( 41803 ) <<remove_spam>jus ... am>gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:30PM (#16020906) Homepage
    I try and try not to be ovelry criticize Microsoft, such as wasting shareholder dollars on Zune, but mandatory startup sounds for Vista? Talk about branding for the sheer point of making people associate your brand with irritation. Manually turning down the volume each time, say in a library or lab, is the work around? Huh?

      At least the article references Ze...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zerocool^ ( 112121 )

      This month's maximumPC which I just received today has a review of various PVR software suites for a media center PC.

      Windows Media Center gets low marks for being very content-provider specific, as opposed to user-focused. For example, they've added in (presumably at the content providers' request) the functionality to have some programs *cough*thesopranos*cough* automatically deleted after 2 weeks. Why? Well it doesn't serve the user. And then, there's DRM, watermarked WMV, nonstandard formats, etc.

  • by xamomike ( 831092 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:31PM (#16020911) Homepage
    I really don't think this is gonna happen.. even if it does, it's a matter of hours before someone else hacks the startup processes to modify it. Besides, if the sound makes the sound of sucking $$$ out of my wallet, it might be perfect for Vista.
  • Perhaps... (Score:5, Funny)

    by punkrocher ( 775394 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:32PM (#16020924) Homepage Journal
    It will be something along the lines of this? []
  • by amigabill ( 146897 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:36PM (#16020943)
    It's my freakin computer, you better let me silence it if I wish. Maybe I don't want to irritate people in a cafe, lobby, waiting room, whatever with noises coming from my laptop. Maybe I just don't want an "I'm ready to be used" noise. Maybe I don't care if you think it's convenient. Maybe I dont care if you think it's cool or pretty sounding. Maybe I just want the stupid thing to be quiet.

    And Xbox or Playstation are not good excuses, those are for a different market. There's also a number of people out there using mod chips to regain control of those things if they don't like some decisions from the manufacturer. Just because my Xbox makes a startup noise doesn't mean that I want it to. And just because some Engineer at Microsoft or Sony decided their toy for kids should make a startup noise does not mean I want to hear it on my laptop, tower, or anything at the office in the morning.
  • by gsn ( 989808 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:40PM (#16020973)
    "This computer will self destruct in 5 seconds."

    I still hold out hope...

    QUESTION: Why don't you give advanced users the ability to turn this off via a registry setting or something like that?
    Steve: "we're considering just that."

    Yes Steve a registry setting please...
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WinLogon\ShutTheFuckUp
    make sure that dword is set to 1
  • Don't do this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tester ( 591 ) <(olivier.crete) (at) (> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:41PM (#16020980) Homepage
    This shows how disconnected from the real world Microsofties have become.

    Imagine being in a large university class with 100 or 200 students and half of them boot their laptops at the beginning of the class. The sound will be played 50-100 times, how much more annoying can it get!
  • by EnsilZah ( 575600 ) <> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:44PM (#16020995)
    The startup sound will be the voice of Steve Ballmer saying "Please bend over, this won't take long".
  • Horrible idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OnanTheBarbarian ( 245959 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:44PM (#16020998)
    Wonderful. This will be a real plus in seminars, as people can't turn on their damn laptops without making a stupid noise. Or on an airplane. Or any other situation (with the kid sleeping in the other side of the room, for example).

    Stupid, stupid, stupid. Unbelievably dumb. A massive triumph of marketing people over reality. How can this can be presented as a 'I see both sides of this fascinating argument' in the article? The argument that lots of other systems do this too is irrelevant; currently, you don't have to do this in Windows - why start making this mistake now?
  • Uh, Macs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by illuminatedwax ( 537131 ) <stdrange@alumni[ ... u ['.uc' in gap]> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:45PM (#16020999) Journal
    Is the startup sound on Macs customizable? I don't think it is. You turn on your computer and...

    • Re:Uh, Macs? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:58PM (#16021089)
      You can always just hold down the mute button during boot and it won't make the noise (at least I think, it's been awhile since I last restarted). You then let go of the mute button and it will return you to your pre-determined volume level while it's finishing booting.
    • by Shawn Parr ( 712602 ) <> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @11:30PM (#16021556) Homepage Journal

      1st reason, if you mute the sound, the startup chime is also muted.

      2nd reason, sleep actually works very well on Mac models, and most Mac laptop users don't shut their machines down often. This of course is not true of 100% of the population, but it is true of a very large portion. As one example the Macbook has a bug where if you shut it down and close the lid, it crashes and doesn't shut down. While this is a known issue, very few Macbook users report it or complain about it.

      I have only shut down my Macbook once, and that was to upgrade the RAM, since then it has been sleep only when it was not in use.

    • Re:Uh, Macs? (Score:4, Informative)

      by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:11AM (#16021990)
      Actually the startup chime obeys the system volume. If you need to have a "quiet" start and your volume wasn't shut off on shutdown, you can hold down the "mute" button as you boot and that will squelch the chime. If you are into esoteric settings or you have a special need to kill just the startup chime, install this third party utility [], which allows you to set the startup chime volume directly.
  • by VorpalEdge ( 967279 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:45PM (#16021002)
    The startup sound has obviously become the ca-ching of a cash register.

    It'd be pure microsoft...
  • by John Pfeiffer ( 454131 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:48PM (#16021022) Homepage
    ...sources close to those in charge of Vista's user interface development say the startup sound will be that of '...[M]illions of computer users crying out, and suddenly silenced...'
  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:50PM (#16021032) Homepage Journal
    It just HAS to be a joke. They can't really be considering annoying their users in this way, right?

    I suppose the system will REQUIRE the sound file, and it must be a signed/DRMed WMA10 file too, right? And ONLY Microsoft-signed sounds (e.g., Vista Plus! pack or whatever comes out alongside the OS next year) will be "allowed" to replace the default sound?

    Meh. I won't be affected. When I have to run Windows (for legacy hardware not supported by Linux) it's Win98SE or Win2K, and I can customize SuSE and kubuntu linux to my heart's content. Fuck Windows Vista and the DRM fest and locked-down GUI that will come with it. Monad, you say? I already have that; it's called bash.
  • by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:54PM (#16021059) Homepage
    Reason #1. It's from Microsoft
    Reason #2. It's been delayed 5 times and still won't die
    Reason #3: Fundamentally no better than XP
    Reason #4: Still no shell
    Reason #5: Or compiler
    Reason #6: Takes more space then it really ought to
    Reason #7: New added value bonus DRM compliance goodies!


    Reason #76: It takes more memory than a weather simulation of Earth just to show the desktop
    Reason #77: "Ultimate Edition"
    Reason #78: Annoying Startup Sounds

    • by Tackhead ( 54550 )
      > Reason #78: Annoying Startup Sounds

      Reason #79: Just to make #78 clear, if I want my computer to make a funny sound every time I reboot, I'll lick my finger and rub it across the screen, and if the squeaky sound doesn't amuse me enough, I'll shove it up Steve Ballmer's ass.

  • by hruzaden ( 219079 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:56PM (#16021076)

    OMG..they have a branded starup sound! Can we have a startup sound too! Please!

    "A spiritual side of the branding experience. A short, brief, positive confirmation that your machine is now concious and ready to react."

    Spiritual side? WTF does that mean? Do we get Kool-aid if we format the drive?

    "The startup sound is designed to help you calibrate or fix something that got out of wack when you startup your machine. Let's say you muted your machine, and you don't hear your startup sound, you know you aren't ready to listen to stuff."

    Maybe the power LED being off, the dial at 0 or the red 'no' symbol on the speaker icon might give it away after you hear absoulutely nothing coming from the speakers?

    Of course there are the foot pedal mouse and coffee holder ROM drive crowd to think about. Maybe they can get an offical Vista helemt with a send in postcard.

    "The Xbox has a hard-wired startup sound. "

    Which makes sense. Your siting down to game and the sound system has a mojor role in that experience. It also happens as soon as the machine starts. You know exactly when it's going to happen. It's basically a "'s this loud right now..get your volume set..we're getting ready to game". Not blast you out if you forget where your settings were the previous time and you walked away during boot up.

    People get paid to "think" this crap up. It's amazing.

  • by THotze ( 5028 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:01PM (#16021110) Homepage
    The problem with this is that it means that mobile users will be less likely to restart their computers - or power them up, for that matter - in meetings, etc., where you don't want to draw attention to yourself with an annoying startup sound. Now, I'm not sure if there's still an option for turning ALL windows alert sounds off, including the start up sound, which might mitigate this a bit. But on some computers, especially many laptops with softkeys for volume, you've got to ALREADY BE IN WINDOWS to turn the sound off. So say you were using your computer with sound on, say, gaming, turn it off, and boot up 2 hours later in a meeting - you'd have NO CHANCE of disabling a loud and annoying sound that draws the kind of attention to yourself that you REALLY don't want drawn to you.

    It all just begs the question "why?" was the code that they have to turn off the start up sound now SO BADLY WRITTEN that they decided not to migrate it? C'mon guys. And also:

    They've been working on this project as the "#1" priority in their group (past updates, etc.) for over half a decade now. I'd REALLY like to think that they'd have most of this kind of stuff decided already. Did somebody buy everyone in the Windows dev team an Xbox and then an XBox 360? Is that why its taken them 60 months to put together about as much of a feature upgrade as the OS X dev team usually puts together every 18 months? What have they been waiting for? Are they tailor-making Vista technologies to run Duke Nukem Forever? Is that the reason for the delay? Because I really can't find much of a better rationale anywhere else... other than maybe they've cut so many features of Vista in the past few years that no one left working on the project has any idea what code they're actually supposed to be writing.


  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BCW2 ( 168187 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:01PM (#16021112) Journal
    You mean everyone doesn't delete all the M$ noise files at the first boot? Find a winbox that I haven't deleted the media files from, I looked and there aren't any here.
  • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:05PM (#16021126)
    Here are three major OS on the market:

    OSX: built around experience, this OS is made to be simple to use, easy to market, look shiny and tie well with its accompanied Apple hardware. Apple's credo is that they are amazing as hell, and their users will be wowed at whatever they throw at them. As such, OSX provides features such as mandatory startup sounds, mandatory "hardware", mandatory skin and other mandatory "tuned to be kewl" stuff. They have some success, but their market share is still decreasing (currently at meager 2%) because they don't realize that unlike iPod, a PC is (yet) not just another consumer device.

    Unix / BSD / Linux: it's made for professionals, for tinkerers and and people who like control over their machines. Those OS have their share of attempts at eye candy, but the main point of the OS is the ability to go down to the bone and tune it just like you like it, without excess fat and trash around. It doesn't have much adoption with casual folks as a desktop OS because the distros are rarely consistent, require low level knowledge of the underlying system to get the maximum out of it and hardware software doesn't target it a lot.

    Windows: is sitting in the perfect spot. It's easy to use, has a lot of software written for it, works on commodity hardware, and is practical for business, entertainment and more. It's not perfect, and in fact was quite flaky when the consumer branch was based around the 9x core (for legacy reasons). These guys however get a lot of criticism that they are not enough like Apple and not enough like Unix. Windows has no cult status among its users, while *nix and Apple does.

    I have no idea whether it's a complex or lack of confidence in their own strategy, but sometime around XP, Microsoft decided they wanna be more like OSX and Unix, which are dwarfed by Windows on the market of desktop OS. They are just doing it, for no apparent reason, they are not losing market to their competitors on the desktop market, but feel the urge to copy them and be "more like them".

    XP and Vista are trying hard to build a branded experience much like OSX, while other projects like Channel 9, the new power shell, and tons of other admin-related utilities and technologies are targeted to the Unix crowd and appearing more opened.

    Some of this has positive effects on the users of Windows, but some of it, is just plain stupid (like the glassy look of aero.. it's not easier to use at all, it's one of those gadgets you show off in the PC shops, like OSX's scaling icons on the dock bar). Their desire to preserve their "perfect" branding by locking and hardcoding everything in place is just a symptom of this much deeper problem.

    I wish Microsoft would just accept its position in the market, keep the right balance between flexible and preconfigured, and swallow the criticisms, which will come no matter what, versus try and copy whatever fads come along.
    • by Millenniumman ( 924859 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @11:54PM (#16021676)
      Two things I'd like to note:

      OS X's market share is not decreasing, and the number of users is increasing a lot.

      OS X does have things like the fancy dock animations, but unlike similar things in Windows, they don't get in your way, and they are actually nice.

      Windows isn't more flexible than OS X in most ways. Yes, it has built in theme support. Essentially, I can change Windows XP from horrid, gaudy, bright purple and green to icky silver and green. Woohoo. None of that makes the interface any better, functionally.

      OS X's interface isn't just better because you can look at it without going blind, it is far more intuitive and easy to use. And it includes support for the Klingon Language.
  • by DeadboltX ( 751907 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:12PM (#16021164)
    The hacked pirated version is looking more appealing the more I read about vista
  • Bummer... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ktakki ( 64573 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:18PM (#16021216) Homepage Journal
    Since my first Windows box (WfW 3.11, 1993), I've used an awful lot of different startup sounds, from the sound of breaking glass to the Mac Quadra-era System 7 "CHUNG!", to funny outtakes from voiceover sessions I've engineered.

    My current system at work, which I built around an MSI Athlon 64+ motherboard, is housed in a case that looks like a Soviet-era toaster: dull silver-grey plastic and louvers on the front that look like they belong on the hood of a tractor. I festooned the case with hammer-and-sickle symbols and the letters "CCCP" in red type bordered in yellow. That computer's name is "katyusha".

    Its startup sound is the Red Army Chorus singing the Soviet National Anthem. Just one verse, though. It annoys my employer to no end, but he'll be the first one up against the wall when the Revolution happens. Fucking capitalist pig dog.

    What really annoys me is the faux "click" sound of an unaltered XP install, the one that's bound to Windows Explorer "Start Navigation" events. It's never in sync with the mouse click. Second most annoying is the crumpled paper sound when the "Recycle Bin" is emptied (are those bits really recycled? Hmmm?). I turn those off immediately after an install.

    Somewhat less annoying (but all too common) are users that bind the sound of a toilet flushing to the "Empty Recycle Bin" event. Invariably, they're the sort of person for whom a fart joke is the pinnacle of humor. But they bitch like hell when you bind the sound of a lusty wet ripping flatus to each mouse click. "My computer's been hacked!" they complain. "I was humiliated in front of a client!"

    How d'you like me now, bitch?

  • by Schraegstrichpunkt ( 931443 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @11:09PM (#16021461) Homepage

    ... you'll always be able to disable the sound by changing your master boot record.

  • It's striking how different this proposal sounds to how the Mac startup chime works.

    Scoble dances around giving a full description, and it sounds like things are still being fleshed out, but the clear implication is that the plan here is to play some kind of music at either the login screen or (presumably if auto-login is turned on) when the current user gets to a working desktop. Implicitly, this is going to take a while, so they encouraging you to go for a walk and come back when the chime plays.

    With a Mac, on the other hand, you get a polyphonic startup chime right when the machine is turned on. This fills a couple of functions, including welcoming the user to start working on the computer soon, and proving that the machine passed POST tests. Next the hardware is initialized, and system services start loading. Up until 10.3/Panther, the user would be presented with a series of frequently-vaguely-understood system services one by one as they loaded, but with 10.4/Tiger, the whole startup process was re-thought and replaced with launchd [], which in turn made it possible to boot the system boot much faster (don't load unneeded services, delay non-critical ones until later, run as many of the others in parallel, etc) so that now you just have a sham progress bar [] as the system boots as fast as possible up to the login screen or desktop.

    What is the better use of resources: figuring out how to make the system boot so fast that you don't have time to get that cup of coffee, or hiring 70s rockers to compose a melody to play once you've finished brewing another pot? Hmm.....

    And before you say that Microsoft doesn't have as much control over the hardware, that's baloney. Be didn't have control over the hardware, and they had a hell of a lot less resources than Microsoft, and yet they still figured out how to get BeOS to cold boot to a functional desktop in 15 seconds or so. No OS shipping today that I'm aware of -- Windows, OSX, Linux, etc -- manages to do that as well as BeOS did a decade ago, and the hardware has only gotten better in that time. Why not? It's obviously doable. Figuring out how to get computers to do that again would be wonderful.

  • Sounds == Annoying (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @02:06AM (#16022179)

    When will people understand that sounds can be annoying?

    Sounds on web-pages are annoying, sounds when you start your computer or just use it normally are annoying, even in games sounds can be annoying, most of the time you just don't want to hear a sound, either because you don't want to make any noises or because you're listening to music.

    When is the last time that you were listening to music and some awefull piece of music emanating from your speakers 3 times louder than the music you were listening to all of this because someone on myspace tought it was cool to put music on their main page?

    My point is, make this a commandement : Thou shalt not make any sounds unless necessary. I mean really necessary, what's the point of having your computer make some pseudo-zen chime when it gets started up?

    Oh well, it gives you a couple of coolness points if your start up sound sounds like "SEGAAA!!!"

  • Volume (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes@[ ] ['xms' in gap]> on Friday September 01, 2006 @05:21AM (#16022724)
    If it's like the other 'system sounds' in Windows, they'll be recorded at full volume, unlike your music which is at -20 dB average. So you've got your computer connected to a nice sound system, you set your volume so the music (movie, etc.) is audible, and the system sounds will be loud enough to wake the dead.
    At least the systems sounds can be shut off.

    Please Microsoft, copy Apple's Sounds control panel which has a separate volume setting for system sounds.
  • Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by a_greer2005 ( 863926 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @06:05AM (#16022845)
    computershave "forced" the start sounder for like 20 years and I have never seen a complaint, why is it ok for Apple and not for Windows?
    • Re:Apple (Score:4, Funny)

      by xeno-cat ( 147219 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @09:47AM (#16023591) Homepage
      Apple was the first computer to have a "start up" sound other than a beep. Responding to customer demand they added a feature that allowed you to turn it off. Microsoft, on the other hand, is removing a feature that, for the past 20 years, people have stated they want.

      See the difference?

      Kind Regards
  • Prats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) * on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:47AM (#16023316) Homepage
    So apparently, whoever thought this up doesn't ever, ever, ever use their laptop/computer in:

    1) Schools, Colleges, Universities
    2) Offices
    3) Libraries
    4) Home use at night
    5) Conferences
    6) Broadcast applications
    7) Confined areas (trains, planes, wifi hotspots, cafes)
    8) With an amplifier

    Apart from the obvious waste of MY money that I gave MS with my purchases, which they have spent to hire someone to make a sound that I don't want and will never want to hear (no matter what MS say), this is a mind-trick.

    Soon, the execs will "realise" that their customers have concerns and provide an off switch, thus putting into people's minds that they "listen to their customers". They were thinking that all along, it's just another way for people to continue talking about Vista that they will "remedy" by the time it comes out. It stops people thinking "But is it secure, is it easy to use, is it cheap, is it compatible?" and instead make them think "Well, they solved the worst problem, that stupid startup sound can be turned off". I don't want an "experience" with an OS. I would want to get some work done. I don't want it all to be integrated and matching - I would want it to boot fast, get on the Internet securely and not get in my way.

    I turn off ALL sounds, no matter what the OS. And I usually have my speakers off except when I'm anticipating an IM and have turned its notification sound on, or when I choose to have sound (DVD's, MP3's etc.).

    This is what used to wind me up about Windows - I have little to no control over the OS without bundling it full of freeware to do the job. I don't WANT Adobe Acrobat pre-loading at startup - I use it on less than 5% of my boots. In order to GET ASKED whether I want it to happen or not I have to install things like Startup Monitor from And still Adobe insists on re-trying every time I update it. I don't WANT it to, ever, at all, in any way, but there's no option for that.

    I don't WANT program X to access the Internet - at all, ever, under any circumstances. It might be a game that has absolutely no need to, or that I only use on the LAN, or it might be trying to act as a server all the time, thus giving me an instant security hole. But it's going to take until Vista for me to get a choice of whether or not I will allow it unless I install ZoneAlarm or something similar (which I've been using for this purpose for many years now).

    I don't WANT program X to install itself under some silly subdirectory - I really don't. Program Files is possibly the worst organised folder on any Windows drive because everything that ends up there chooses it's own structure - by company name, by product name, by some weird abbreviation - I don't WANT that. I CAN and WILL choose where this stuff goes, given half a chance. I have systems that differ from the software authors idea for a good place... I have categories - Audio/Video, Internet, Games, Graphics, Hardware, Utilities, all of which I have a perfectly clear idea of what should be where - I can organise my start menu in this way but rarely do you get a choice of where a game sticks its icons. Even rarer is the program that lets you CHOOSE where you install on the hard drive.

    I also WANT to be able to move any folder without breaking anything and having to regedit to fix it (if its possible to move it at all). I don't WANT My Documents or My Music or My Pictures or anything My, I have a perfectly well organised file structure myself and don't want every program creating a "My" directory and putting its stuff in there.

    I don't WANT to have to use five-thousand user-land applications that all put an icon in my system tray that I cannot remove without breaking stuff, cannot hide without a load of freeware and do not ever WANT just to use a poxy mouse or a hotkey or a wifi card. I don't WANT stuff to Auto-Update without my say-so, no matter how important someone else deems it is - I will choose WHEN and WHAT updates I install after carefully readi

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham