How To Change Sound Schemes and System Events


A sound scheme is a set of sounds, each of which is attached to a system event, such as starting Windows 98 or minimizing a window. Windows 98 offers a number of these schemes, but in order to use them, you'll need to install them off the installation CD.

If you aren't sure whether the schemes are installed or not, open the Control Panel and double-click Sounds. In the Sounds Properties dialog box, click the down arrow next to Schemes and scroll through the resulting list. If you see sound schemes such as Jungle Sounds and Robotz Sounds, all the schemes Windows 98 has to offer are installed. (You can skip the next paragraph on installing the schemes). If you don't see these schemes in the list, you'll need to install the sound schemes off your installation CD.

To install the schemes, open the Control Panel and double-click Add/Remove Programs. Click the Windows Setup tab and wait as Windows 98 checks your system for installed components. In the list of components, select Multimedia, then click Details. Select the box next to Multimedia Sound Schemes, click OK twice, then insert the installation CD when asked.

Once the schemes are installed, you can select any one from the Sounds Properties dialog box. Open the Control Panel, double-click Sounds, select a scheme in the Schemes list, and click OK. To preview the sounds in the selected scheme, one at a time, select an event with a yellow speaker next to it, then click the button with the arrow on it.

Open the Control Panel, select Sounds, select a scheme in the list under Schemes, then click OK.

Note: You may need to install the schemes off of the installation CD. Open the Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs, click the Windows Setup tab, select Multimedia, click Details, select Multimedia Sound Schemes, click OK twice, then insert the Windows 98 installation disk when asked. Can't find a scheme in the list that suits your fancy? Desktop themes offer many more schemes for your listening pleasure. Simply save the sounds of a desktop theme as a stand-alone sound scheme, and from then on you can select it from the Schemes list in the Sounds Properties dialog box.

First, temporarily open the desktop theme that offers the sounds you'd like to use: Open the Control Panel, double-click Desktop themes, select an item under Theme, and click OK. If you prefer not to invoke the entire scheme, even temporarily, deselect all boxes under Settings except the one next to Sounds, then click OK.

Next, save the currently active sounds as a sound scheme. Open the Control Panel, double-click Sounds, and click the Save As button. Name the scheme something appropriate--such as "Baseball" for the sounds from the Baseball theme--then click OK twice.

Last but not least, go back to the Desktop Themes dialog box and turn off the theme you selected (unless you want to keep using it): Click the down arrow next to Themes, select Current Windows settings, and click OK.

From now on, you can select the sound scheme by name directly from the Sounds Properties dialog box. Desktop theme sounds without a desktop theme!

The thing is, even if you like most of the sounds in a scheme, there may be one or two you can't handle--at least, not EVERY, SINGLE time you perform a certain action. If there's a sound you could do without, turn it off by removing it from the scheme.

Suppose you were using a scheme that played an annoying sound every time you minimized a window. To "unassociate" that sound from the minimize action, open the Control Panel and double-click Sounds. In the list of Events at the top of the dialog box, scroll down and select Minimize (you'll see a little yellow speaker next to it to let you know there's a sound attached to this event). Under Name, click the down arrow, scroll to the top of the list, and select None. Click Yes to confirm that you don't want to have a sound for this event. Repeat these steps for each event you'd like to silence.

At this point, you have two choices. Assuming you don't want to save this change as part of the current sound scheme, simply click OK. The event will have no sound attached to it until you select a new sound scheme. If, on the other hand, you want to save this soundless event as part of a sound scheme, click Save As, name the scheme (type the name of the current scheme to make the change a permanent part of the scheme), then click OK twice.

Open the Control Panel, double-click Sounds, select the event you'd like to silence, select None in the list under Name, then click Yes to confirm. Click OK if the change is temporary, or click Save As and name the scheme to make the change permanent.

Just as the Sounds Properties dialog box makes it easy to associate no sound with an event, it also allows you to associate the sound of your choice with an event. In other words, you can use your favorite sounds (*.wav files) to create your own custom sound scheme.

Inside the Sounds Properties dialog box, select the sound scheme (in the Schemes list) that most closely matches what you have in mind. One at a time, select an event, then click the down arrow under Name and select the sound you'd like to attach to the event. To preview the selected sound, click the little arrow button under Preview.

If the sound you want to use doesn't appear in the list (which, by default, points to the Windows\Media folder) click the Browse button, navigate your way to the desired *.wav file's location--such as C:\Program Files\Plus!\Themes, if the sound is part of a desktop theme--select the file, and click OK.

When you finish attaching sounds to all the events that you want to animate, click Save As, name the scheme, and click OK. From now on, you can select your custom scheme by name in the Schemes list!
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