The History of Windows in Startup Sounds
Back in 1992, 3.1’s startup sound was jarring and unpopular.
This prompted Microsoft to create a more aurally pleasing version for its next operating system.
From the blunt fanfare of Windows 3.1 to the melodic chimes of Windows 7 (and some classic mini-tunes in between), these startup sounds communicate the history of Windows PCs throughout the years.
Join us as we explore the oral history of Microsoft’s operating system. Which is your favorite startup sound? Tell us in the comments below.
In 1994 Microsoft asked Brian Eno to create a piece of music that was (in his words) “inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental [and] emotional.”
The resulting seven seconds — about twice as long as Microsoft’s initial brief requested — has made tech history as a recognizable “sonic logo.”
In 1996, Windows NT 4.0 revealed a fresh, futuristic sound.
Legend has it that the shutdown sound played the startup sound backwards.
Microsoft audio producer Ken Kato is credited with the creation of the Windows 98 sound.
Microsoft tinkled the ivories with its professional “2000” operating system.
The consumer-aimed “Millennium Edition” shared the same audio.
The startup chime (and other system sounds within XP) are based on live orchestral recordings.
Composer Bill Brown worked with Emmy-award winning sound designer Tom Ozanich to create the audio.
The Vista startup sound was a collaboration among progressive rock guitarist Robert Fripp, record producer, musician and composer Tucker Martine and Microsoft’s own engineer (and musician) Steve Ball.
In a blog post, Microsoft described the tune as having “two parallel melodies played in an intentional ‘Win-dows Vis-ta’ rhythm,” with four chords — one for each color in the Windows flag.
Finally, Windows 7’s default startup audio is the same as Vista’s.