Windows startup sounds broken down in-depth by audio experts

Windows 11 Start Surfacepro Lighting
Windows 11 Start Surfacepro Lighting (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • A recent episode of the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast runs through the history of startup sounds.
  • The episode covers the famous Windows XP jingle and other sounds from the history of Windows.
  • Microsoft removed the startup sound with Windows 8 but brought it back with Windows 11.

Windows startup sounds go all the way back to the early days of the OS. Some of the jingles have become famous, such as the orchestral sound of Windows XP. The latest episode of the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast covers the history of startup sounds from Windows.

The entire episode is worth a listen. Around the 21:30 mark, you'll hear arguably the most iconic Windows startup sound, the one from Windows XP. The show's hosts highlight how Windows XP shared a similar soundscape for different sounds in the operating system.

Microsoft drifted away from startup sounds with Windows 8, which lacked any noise when booting altogether. That OS also lacked support for multiple Windows on a desktop, so a missing sound may not have been its biggest issue.

Even the rollout of Windows 10 didn't add a jingle. Former Microsoft Director of Program Management for the Windows User Experience Team Jensen Harris explained why the company moved away from startup sounds.

Microsoft changed its — ahem — tune with Windows 11. The company was so excited about the return of a startup noise that it shared a slo-fi remix of sounds from its previous operating systems in the run-up to Windows 11's announcement.

This is only the first half of a two-part series from the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast covering the topic.

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