How to Add Windows 95 (Or Any Other) Startup Sound to Windows

Windows 95 logo on a wooden background.

Miss that nostalgic Windows 95 startup sound? Add the creation of the great Brian Eno to Windows 11. Then, enjoy the happy little jingle every time your OS starts up. You can even change other system sounds if you want.

Switch Off Fast Boot

You’ve probably noticed by now that when you shut down your Windows 11 PC, you can magically turn it on again by pressing any key on your keyboard instead of the Power button on your machine. This is thanks to the “Fast Boot” feature in Windows 11, which essentially hibernates your PC, shutting it down but keeping your session, drivers, and so-on dormant in the hibernation file, ready to spring back into action as soon as you turn your PC on.

Fast boot helps speed up boot time, though its effects aren’t significant, and some people have even reported that it slows down their boot time. It also prevents Windows from greeting you with a jingle, as Windows doesn’t think your PC was actually shut down in the first place.

Switching off Fast Boot restores your startup sound. To do this, click Start, type control panel, then click Control Panel in the search results (or use any of these methods to open Control Panel). Select Power Options. If you don’t see this, change the View by at the top right to Large icons.

Opening power options in Control Panel.

In the Power Options window, click Choose what the power buttons do, then uncheck the Turn on fast start-up box. If it’s greyed out, click Change Settings that are currently unavailable, then untick the box.

Turning off fast startup.

Enable Windows 95 Startup Sound

Next, go to the sound options in Windows. Go to Start, and type Change system sounds. Choose the result. Or, in the notification area in the bottom-right corner of your desktop, right-click the speaker icon, then click Sound settings. In Windows 10, choose Sounds instead.

Choosing sound settings from the notification tray.

In the System sound settings window, scroll to the bottom in the right pane, and select More sound settings. In Windows 10, you should already be in the correct window.

Clicking more sound settings in the Windows 11 settings.

In the Sound window, click the Sounds tab, then tick the Play Windows Start-up sound box. Press Apply. Your PC should now play a jingle whenever it boots. If you’re content with the Windows 10 startup sound, stop now. If you want to indulge your nostalgia and replace it with the Windows 95 startup sound (or any other sound for that matter), read on.

Enabling Windows to play the Windows 95 startup sound

Downloading the Windows 95 Startup Sound

If you want to add another startup sound to Windows 11 beyond the defaults, you’ll need to use a .wav file or convert an existing audio file to a .wav file. This is simple to do, and you can use a free online converter like online-convert or to do it. You can also use VLC Media Player.

If you want to use the Windows 95 jingle like me, download it from here by right-clicking the little WAV logo and clicking Save link as. If you have any trouble downloading from here, try Orange Free Sounds instead.

Downloading the Windows 95 startup sound for free

Once you have your .wav file, it’d seem logical to change the startup sound from the Sound settings window, but for some reason, this option is missing.

Replacing the Windows 11 Startup Sound

Windows 11 makes it slightly difficult to change the startup or logon sound. If you open the Sounds window where you enabled the startup sound, you’ll notice there isn’t a logon or startup sound option listed in the list of available system events to change.

For Windows 10 users, the process works pretty much the same, but you shouldn’t have to change the registry. Make sure you’re running the latest version of Windows 10, though. Early versions don’t have an option to add sounds directly from the Sounds settings window.

To add the logon/startup option to the list, you’ll need to edit the registry. Type Win + R, then type regedit. Press OK to open the registry editor.

Opening the Registry Editor from the Run command.

Navigate to the following area:

The WindowsLogon registry key in the Windows Registry.

Double-click ExcludeFromCPL, and change its value to 0 (zero). This prevents Windows from hiding the setting from you.

Changing the ExcludeFromCPL value in the registry.

Press OK and exit the registry editor. Go back to the Sound settings (Start -> type “Change system sounds” -> select Change system sounds). Open the Sounds tab.

Under the Windows section of the list, scroll down until you see Windows logon.

Viewing the Windows Logon option in the Windows sound settings.

There are two ways to add your Windows 95 startup sound as an option in the Sounds drop-down box. First, select Browse. Navigate to your sound, and select it.

Or, open File Explorer, and add your startup sound file to C:\Windows\Media. Replace “C” with whatever drive letter Windows is installed on. Either method will add your sound to the list.

Select your Windows 95 startup sound as the logon sound, and press Apply. You’ll obviously need to restart your system to experience the nostalgia of the classic startup sound.

Use these same steps to change any Windows system sounds you want, not just the startup sound. For instance, use a more personalized notification sound.

Troubleshooting the Windows Startup Sound

As you’ve likely already discovered, Windows 11 doesn’t have a startup sound by default. This is why you have to manually enable it. But if you’re having issues adding the Windows 95 startup sound or any other sounds, check the following:

  • Ensure your sound file is in .wav format. Some sites only offer .mp3 or .midi files. You would need to convert it.
  • Ensure the sound file you downloaded actually plays. If the file is corrupt, Windows won’t play it.
  • Ensure your speakers work and that you have your sound turned on when starting Windows. Otherwise, you won’t hear anything. It may sound obvious, but it’s easy to accidentally mute your speakers.
  • Sometimes Bluetooth speakers won’t play Windows startup sounds because they don’t connect until after Windows has started.
  • Troubleshoot sound and speaker settings if you can’t play any sounds on your PC.

You don’t have to just deal with the Windows defaults. Add the Windows 95 startup sound, or try some of these other Windows sound schemes. While you’re busy customizing sounds, try these tips for customizing the Windows start menu and taskbar.

Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Crystal Crowder.

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Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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