Listen to the Windows XP startup song on 11 instruments

Windows XP Teams Background
Microsoft released a new version of the Windows XP wallpaper as a background for Microsoft Teams in 2021. (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Musician and YouTuber Joe Porter recently shared a video of the Windows XP startup song being played on several instruments.
  • The jingle is played on the theremin, a cosmophone, and some more traditional instruments.
  • Microsoft has a long history surrounding startup sounds for Windows, including infamously killing the Windows 8 startup sound before it ever came out.

If you had a computer in the early 2000's, you've likely heard the Windows XP startup sound quite a few times. But have you heard it played on a theremin? How about on a cosmophone? Musician and YouTuber Joe Porter just shared a YouTube Short of the Windows XP startup sound on 11 instruments.

The legendary jingle is played on the marimba, theremin, desk bells, vintage stylophone, glockenspiel, xylophone, cosmophone, crystalophone, kalimba, keyboard, and a laptop by Porter. That last one isn't exactly an instrument, but PCs have played the Windows XP startup sound millions of times, so I think that makes it okay.

The rendition on the cosmophone is my favorite. The tune resonates well on the aluminum pipes. The video also serves as a reminder of how epic the Windows XP startup sound was.

If you enjoy this type of content, Porter has an entire library of videos. Gamers will enjoy the Minecraft theme song in one of Porter's most popular clips.

Windows startup sounds

Microsoft has a storied history surrounding the startup sounds of Windows. The company's jingles for booting up Windows 95, Windows XP, and Windows 7 were iconic, at least among tech nerds. The tech giant then infamously ditched the startup sound with the release of Windows 8. That's not the main reason that the operating system failed, but it couldn't have helped.

Windows 8 almost had a startup sound, but Microsoft ultimately decided against including it. Jensen Harris, who was at one point the Director of Program Management for the Windows User Experience team has a video on the history of Windows startup sounds and why Windows 8 didn't have one. He later shared the missing Windows 8 startup sound with the world.

As many of you know, the startup sound made a triumphant return with the launch of Windows 11. Microsoft teased that return with a slo-fi remix of the previous Windows startup sounds. Of course, you can also disable the Windows 11 startup sound if you'd prefer.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at