If you are old enough to do so, you will remember the famous Windows startup sound. This sound not only greeted us when we turned on our PC, but also gave a great touch of personality to the operating system. Today you will learn why Microsoft removed this sound from Windows 8 and who was responsible for it.
This story was told on YouTube by Jensen Harris, who was director of program management for the Windows UX team at Microsoft.
How one of the most important sounds in Windows history died
In the video, Harris takes a historical tour of the importance of sound on PCs, stopping at each new version of Windows until reaching the key moment: Windows 8. He has been actively working on the design of the system. operation and he was the one who suggested the withdrawal sound on startup.
But what were Harris’ reasons for proposing such a thing? As unbelievable as it may sound, inspiration came from an everyday moment, not from work. One night, while taking care of her newborn daughter, she wanted to turn on her laptop and, realizing that the startup noise might wake her up, she decided not to.
That’s when Harris knew: times had changed. Windows would never be an operating system intended primarily for desktop computers. Tablets, convertibles and laptops were the immediate future. Windows 8 was designed with brow-to-brow mobility, ready to go anywhere. Leaving noise would be a major annoyance in settings such as a college or university course, a bedroom at night with someone sleeping nearby, or a train.
A regret and an unexpected enemy
Although his idea caught on on the team, Harris quickly regretted it. In a meeting, they presented him with proposals and ended up choosing a new startup sound for Windows 8 that everyone considered “excellent”. Harris believed that the problem he found with the startup sound could be solved by other means, for example by enabling “mute on startup”, by using the ambient light sensor, or at least by enabling the sound. to be activated at will of the user. .
However, Harris encountered an unexpected foe at this moment of regret: the Windows Fundamentals team. They had a tough job: getting Windows to run on ARM on tablets and convertibles with very modest hardware. To do this, they had to optimize Windows ad nauseam, minimizing memory consumption and speeding up startup as much as possible.
It turns out that one of the optimizations for Windows 8 startup that performed better in pre-testing was the elimination of code related to the startup sound. This simple action saved an average of a second in the boot process, and the Windows Fundamentals team didn’t want to give it up.
Jensen Harris fully understood the arguments he was given and, with all his regrets, he gave in. Windows 8 was released as the first Windows without a startup sound, and while this decision has no bearing on users’ ratings of this operating system, its reception has been appalling. The overly tactile interface wasn’t liked by many desktop users, and the drastic redesign meant that many didn’t want to upgrade.
Harris promised that later he will talk about the failure of Windows 8 and that in the next video he will show us what the startup sound they prepared for Windows 8. We strongly recommend that you watch the video because it is narrated and edited from an exquisite form. He deserves every minute of your time.