How To Silence Your Computer's Startup Sound

We've all been there: you're starting up your computer at night, or in class, and you cringe in embarrassment as your computer's startup sound reverberates loudly through the room. Here's how to prevent that from ever happening again.

Silence Or Change The Startup Sound In Windows

Luckily, Windows gives you a number of easy options for tweaking your system's startup sound. To tweak it:

  1. Click on the Start menu and type "personalization" into the search box, then hit Enter.
  2. Click on "Sounds" to enter Sound preferences.
  3. Uncheck the "Play Windows Startup Sound" box at the bottom of the window. Hit OK. When you restart your computer, it shouldn't make any noise when you log in.

Alternatively, you can scroll down the "Program Events" window and find "Windows Logon". From there, you can choose a different sound from the "Sounds" dropdown list, or hit Browse to choose one from your system. That won't silence it, but if you just want to change it to something a bit more subtle, you can do that here.

Silence The Startup Sound In OS X

The startup chime in OS X is a bit more obnoxious sounding, and quite a bit harder to turn off. Courtesy of Cult of Mac and the book Mac Kung Fu, here is one way to silence your startup chime. You'll need to be comfortable with a bit of Terminal work, but when you're done, it'll automatically mute your computer on shutdown and unmute it when you boot back up.

  1. Open a terminal window and type in nano. Press Enter.
  2. Type this in the nano editor that pops up:
    #!/bin/bash
    osascript -e 'set volume with output muted'
  3. Press Ctrl+O, then type in ~/Documents/mute.sh when it asks you for the filename. Hit Enter to save the file. This puts the mute script in your Documents folder (don't worry, we're going to move it later).
  4. Next, we're going to create a second, slightly different script. Change the second line in the script you just made to read unmuted instead of muted:
    #!/bin/bash
    osascript -e 'set volume with output unmuted'
  5. Press Ctrl+X, press Y to agree, then type in ~/Documents/unmute.sh for the file name. Hit Return to save the new file, and nano should quit.
  6. Run the following commands in the Terminal, hitting Enter after each one:
    sudo chmod u+x ~/Documents/mute.sh
    sudo chmod u+x ~/Documents/unmute.sh
    sudo mv ~/Documents/mute.sh /Library/Scripts/
    sudo mv ~/Documents/unmute.sh /Library/Scripts/
    sudo defaults write com.apple.loginwindow LogoutHook /Library/Scripts/mute.sh
    sudo defaults write com.apple.loginwindow LoginHook /Library/Scripts/unmute.sh

    That last block of commands made your mute and unmute scripts executable, then moved them to your Library folder and set them to run when you log in and out, respectively. You should notice that when you rebooted, you didn't hear the startup chime, and that setting should persist.

    To undo these actions, just run the following two commands in a Terminal window:

    sudo defaults delete com.apple.loginwindow LogoutHook
    sudo defaults delete com.apple.loginwindow LoginHook

    That's it! From now on, you'll never embarrass yourself in front of your classmates, your sleeping roommate, or anyone else that might be annoyed by the loud noises involuntarily coming from your speakers.

  7. Close the Terminal and reboot your machine.

Comments

    So difficult on a MAC, PC it's just a few clicks.

    Seems about right. MAC's are simple, just so long as you don't want to actually do anything with them!

    ... uh, just to clarify on the Mac there, if your computer is mute before you shut down, it'll not play the sound on start-up. The process above is just to automate that.

    "...hit Browse to choose one from your system. That won’t silence it, but if you just want to change it to something a bit more subtle..."

    Or, for a bit of childish fun on a friend's computer, change it to something a bit more loud and embarrassing.

    Actually, the Mac startup chime is there to confirm that your Mac is booting properly. You can disable this easily by holding the mute button when you turn the Mac on, until the Apple logo comes up. For a more permanent solution, you can either mute the sound before shutting down, or use an external program such as StartupSound.prefPane.

      Just seems tedious to push the mute button each time you turn on your PC or download a 3rd party app when a simple check box would have done the trick.

        As mentioned, it's the equivalent of the POST beep in a PC. Not a good idea to kill it forever.

    For a quick and dirty solution that works on mobile phones and computers and the like - just plug in a pair of headphones during the startup process. It won't stop the sound but it is unlikely to anoy anyone coming from a pair of earbuds.

      Strangely, this doesn't work on my Mac. If I plug in headphones after turning it off, the startup chime will still come through the speakers. It seems that what ever state it was in before shutdown (headphones in/out, volume level) remains until the logon screen, At least for me, anyway.

    When I read the title I though "wow, youve actually written an article on how to turn a sound off?Thats pretty ridiculous."
    Then I saw the steps needed to turn off the Mac sound. . . now thats ridiculous!

    easy as this for mac http://www.satsumac.com/Psst.php

    This article is talking about two entirely different things. The Mac's STARTUP CHIME is equal to (the same as) the PC's BOOT BEEP, not the later Windows Login sound. The Mac doesn't have a login sound and muting or changing the Windows Login sound does nothing whatsoever to the PC's boot beep. Unless there's an option offered in the PC's boot menu (very rare), muting or disabling the PC's boot beep is every bit as difficult as changing the startup chime on the Mac.

Join the discussion!