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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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  • 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*
  • by Neop2Lemus ( 683727 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:32PM (#16020916) Journal
    This is clearly a hoax.

    Imagine an office where I can't expose people to the happy sound of elephants trumpeting every time I boot my PC?

  • by Mad Merlin ( 837387 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:33PM (#16020926) Homepage
    If that's any indication of the design of the rest of the system, it sounds awfully braindead to me. Computers are supposed to work *for* you, not against you.
  • by Seng ( 697556 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:44PM (#16020996)
    The Mac startup sound is also a nice short chord.

    Microsoft's startup sounds have a length half as long as a standard symphony performance. The way Microsoft works, anything "unique" to them is going to be over the top and annoying to boot.
  • by atarione ( 601740 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @09:44PM (#16020997)
    wow... that is the most retarded thing

    thanx m$

    vista may well cause me to say adios to windows... I'm not sure I can take much more of this kinda crap

    I can't have Native HD DVD (32bit) or WinFS or..... errr what the hell all else did they junk from vista

    but i can have the most annoying part of windows startup.... the fucking startup sound... forced on me regardless of if i want it or not ????

    it would be FUCKING GREAT in the office too..... for 3hours i could hear the start up sounds as co-workers arrived and logged in....

    vista may not be the next winME after all it may be much much worse than that.
  • 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.


  • by Agilo ( 727098 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @10:32PM (#16021279) Homepage
    Oh, only the most fantastic guitarist I know of.
    He was in Giles, Giles & Fripp before founding the band King Crimson.
    He's known for his soundscapes (Frippertronics) and his increadibly fast and bizarre (machine-like) guitar play.

    I have to say, I'm not much of a fan of Microsoft, but I have to admit they made a real good move getting Robert Fripp to do the soundscapes for their product.

    For more on his work for Microsoft see this: http://download.microsoft.com/download/8/1/c/81cdb 151-0aae-4f50-ab44-654b5f7ae0db/Vista_Robert_Fripp _2005.wmv [microsoft.com]
    Or to read the article posted on Channel 9: http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=1518 53 [msdn.com]
    Or maybe even read Robert Fripp's page on WikiPedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Fripp [wikipedia.org]

  • Well, not to rain on your parade, BUT:

    I worked for a non-profit when Windows 2003 was released to manufacturing. They were donated two new dell servers and two boxed copies of Win2k3 Standard edition for the purpose of running two databases that previously were hosted on one box that was seriously overloaded. Decent servers on the high end at the time - hot swap power, hot swap drives, dual proc, etc. These boxes are Internet facing (not for database access, that requires an IPSEC connection at the firewall level) and hosted at a big name co-lo facility. The database is Oracle 9i.

    I remember well the day that I hardened them and finished the deployment. It was May 1st, 2003, a Thursday I believe. Win2k3 had just become available the previous week. Oracle had released a big set of patches for 9i not long before.

    I still check in on those boxes. One has 994 days of uptime, and the other has, as of last week, 1190 days. The longer running of the two - DAEDALUS - runs close to 75% load from 6am-6pm, 5 days a week.

    The only other box I have running that beats that is a Netware 4.x box. But that barely counts as a usuable OS :)
  • by 228e2 ( 934443 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @11:17PM (#16021490)
    thats not even the point. On my brand new Dell latitude D620, the XP start up sound plays before my mute button is registered. Trust me i've tried, when ive been in places that require silence and i find myself having to muffle my speakers physically.
  • 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 [arstechnica.com], 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 [daringfireball.net] 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.

  • by Shawn Parr ( 712602 ) <parrNO@SPAMshawnparr.com> 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.

  • by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @11:37PM (#16021591) Homepage Journal

    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.

    On the other hand, the other software suites get high marks for being completely user focused and standars adhering.

    Microsoft already has the users. They don't need to focus on that - they need to focus on decisions made around confrence tables. I.E. the sound needs to be manditory, so that everyone knows you're running WindowsVista(tm). Or, whatever. Screw the users, they'll buy it anyway.

    You'd think this kind of thinking causes companies to go out of business, but... here we are.

  • by Al Dimond ( 792444 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @11:49PM (#16021649) Journal
    I have a laptop with a very loud startup beep that can't be disabled (one of my roomates said when he first heard it go off he thought it was the fire alarm). I run FreeBSD on the laptop, and FreeBSD has an even longer startup beep that I only recently learned how to disable (you have to edit some assembly code and rebuild the first-stage bootloader). I always carried around one of those 1/8"-to-1/4" headphone converters and stuck it in the headphone jack when booting my computer to disable the startup beeps.

    People saw it sticking out the back of the computer and asked me what it was. I came up with lots of funny answers.
  • by Ucklak ( 755284 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @12:05AM (#16021719)
    The suspend and sleep features are fairly crappy for Windows; at least not on par with Mac.

    I used to use the sleep feature on my Win laptop (used to travel around and install and configure routers and such) and it's fine for a few awakenings but you can't keep a bunch of apps loaded without the system being buggy. I eventually would reboot in the morning and load the essential before venturing out and do it daily. Daily reboots that is.

    My Mac has gone months without reboots and might add that it is operational within 2 seconds of opening the lid. I've only manually rebooted when it was time for security related patches that affected me. One thing that I use Windows for is the USB to serial for a console port which is why I use both platforms.
  • That's something I've never understood though. Why don't more people disable that? What function does a start up sound serve?
  • 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!!!"

  • Soundscapes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stereoroid ( 234317 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @02:48AM (#16022317) Homepage Journal

    In case any one is wondering about the nature of the sounds in question, there are samples of Robert Fripp's work online. One of my favourites is a recording from a building that still exists, but saw so much tragedy: the World Financial Center [dgmlive.com].

    Much as I like RF's work, I still expect people will be able to turn the startup sound off, without having to hack anything. The way computers are used in quiet environments such as libraries and classrooms, that would be very inconsiderate of M$. No sound is that good.

  • by brucmack ( 572780 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:37AM (#16022436)
    I'm pretty sure that my Thinkpad T42 volume keys work before the OS loads... It's probably not completely hardware, but at least it works without having any drivers installed in Windows.
  • They'll crack it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Knossos ( 814024 ) <knossos.gmail@com> on Friday September 01, 2006 @05:03AM (#16022661)
    Well, if people manage to change the boot/login screen of Windows XP, they're sure as hell gonna be able to locate the small bit of code relating to the startup sound.

    Hell, I'd learn how to crack just to get rid of it. Personally I like Windows making no sound at all, no boot up sound, no shutdown sound, no bloody minimize or maximize sounds.

    The only reason I'm considering getting Vista is because of DirectX 10. If any of you have seen the Crysis CryEngine videos you'll know why (Linky [google.com] [video.google.com]).
  • Volume (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes@[ ]net.nl ['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.
  • by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:20AM (#16023010) Journal
    Well, in the Mac side of life, it was a sign that the ROM had loaded properly, that the RAM test was successful, all that wonderful stuff that appears as text on BIOS-based computers. If one of the tests failed, then a different noise was heard.

    This is not Mac-specific in the slightest. Historically, PCs did exactly the same. Beep once if the BIOS self-test succeeded; if there was an error, emit various other sequences of beeps to indicate what the problem was. They only stopped doing that when manufacturers stopped building speakers into the case.

    However, that reason is quite irrelevant in this case, where the startup sound is apparently going to be played to tell you that the reason the computer is displaying a login screen is that it's ready for you to log in. That is to say, after the computer has finished booting, and long after the monitor has begun displaying useful information.

    An optional sound makes sense in such a context, since some people find audio cues useful. A mandatory sound, with the inevitable backlash from hordes of enraged customers, is simply incomprehensible.
  • by grimwell ( 141031 ) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:22AM (#16023018)
    Booo Mods. Parent is a joke. It's funny because it's true.
  • by Like2Byte ( 542992 ) <Like2Byte&yahoo,com> on Friday September 01, 2006 @08:50AM (#16023328) Homepage
    Here's a no shitter.
    TIME: Post-9/11.

    Location: Major Metropolitan airport

    Me: I just purchased a new LT that was about 3 days new to me. Being on the road I didn't have much time to 'play' with it. I arrive at the airport, get my tickets and proceed to my terminal. I'm early. I decide to sit and have a look-see at what was preinstalled on my LT. I sit next to the check-in counter. I open windows explorer. yadda yadda yadda, I open the windows folder and find an executable named 'clock.avi.' I double-click it.

    The face of a clock take up most of the screen. It begins to Beep. LOUDLY. The clock is counting down. From 10.
  • I actually prefer it the other way around: Be quiet if nothing's wrong, and only beep at me if you have an error. Actually, that seems to be more common now, though some of my older PCs did beep if it POSTed successfully.

    Now I have this weird newfangled motherboard that actually talks to me when there's an error. Scared the shit out of me the first time there was a keyboard error. It actually shouted "Keyboard not found!" at me or something like that.
  • by inviolet ( 797804 ) <slashdot AT ideasmatter DOT org> on Friday September 01, 2006 @10:50AM (#16024004) Journal
    I prefer walls. They are almost always more gratifying plus you don't have to deny your use of a bad pun.

    The advantage of throwing a person or laptop through a window, rather than a wall, is that afterward you can say that you defenestrated them.

    Defenestrate is The Greatest Word In The English Language, and so it's always important to take advantage of the rare chance to use it in a serious sentence.

  • by bheer ( 633842 ) <rbheer AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 02, 2006 @02:34AM (#16028785)
    > I think if the startup sound in Vista is non-deactivatable, then the most likely cause is due to programmers capitulating at getting the sound controls activated before the sound starts

    No, it's because someone at Microsoft wanted to make the audio bits part of the Vista 'experience'. The thinking behind making the sound compulsory is that most laptops and desktops are supposed to have hardware mute buttons (and most do -- except for some sorry-ass HP/Dell owners). What'll probably happen is that they'll add a registry/powertoy override in the end.

    > or because somebody insisted that since Microsoft payed some bigname composer to make this one sound

    Actually, they got Robert Fripp [msdn.com]. And not just for the startup sound -- he's doing all the sounds in Vista.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant