Internet Explorer 7: Irritation of the Day

September 21, 2006

Topics: Personal.

This post has nothing to do with IE7‘s support for CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), adherence to web standards, or general functionality. Instead, it’s a general complaint about one specific annoyance: why did Microsoft’s IE (Internet Explorer) development team want IE7 to “click”?

I mean, as a marketing metaphor, it’s great. Everybody wants their product to “click”. However, in this case I think they’ve taken it a bit too literally.

The Problem

On installation, IE7 automatically turns on the Windows Explorer click sound – this effect a wide variety of actions, particularly including opening folders and clicking on links. Believe it or not, these are activities I do a lot – but I like them silent.

One of the first things I always do with a new computer is turn off all of the default sounds. So why does IE7 think that upgrading Internet Explorer also means I’ve changed my normal preferences about sounds?

I have trouble thinking of many reasons this would be done which make any serious sense:

  1. It’s a bug. Somehow, all the bug testers have their sounds turned on and nobody ever noticed this. Alternately, it actually occurs very rarely – but somehow has occurred to me on all three of my computers every single time I’ve installed it, with every beta version or release candidate I’ve looked at.
  2. It’s a feature. IE7 comes with a BRAND NEW Windows Explorer click sounds, and they want to make sure everybody gets to hear it.
  3. It’s a feature. They’re concerned that some users may not notice that they’ve clicked on links in web pages unless they receive an aural notification. (This is, of course, true – however, those users undoubtedly are using screen readers anyhow.)
  4. It’s not really happening. It’s entirely in my imagination, since I’m obviously searching for excuses to be upset with Microsoft.

The most probable of these is that it’s actually a rare bug – but given the number of times it’s happened to me, I’m personally disinclined to consider that. The idea that the development would intentionally program some “feature” in IE7 which actively alters a user’s settings, however, is sounding quite likely. But why?

The Solution

Assuming that you haven’t been won over by IE7’s fabulous clicking sound, you may want to turn it off. Well, actually this is exceptionally simple – it’s just silly that you have to do it at all.

On Windows XP SP2:

  1. Control Panel →
  2. Sounds and Audio Devices →
  3. Sounds →
  4. Select “Start Navigation” in the Program Events selection area →
  5. Select your sound of choice (“None”, for example) from the drop down menu below. →
  6. Click “OK”

If you like the “No Sounds” option, like me, you can do this more quickly. You’ll just want to switch your Sound scheme to the default setting briefly, then switch it back to “No Sounds”. That’ll turn everything on and off – kind of like a cold reboot for your sound scheme.

56 Comments to “Internet Explorer 7: Irritation of the Day”

  1. Thank you for saving me from IE7 click hell. I recently updated the work PC to IE7 (business requirement) and when it started clicking, I knew I had to get rid of it. So thank you for taking a few minutes to document this for the rest of us. Greatly appreciated.

  2. Hi,

    I don’t want to sound like a smartass, but a simple solution is NOT to use IE (Internet Explorer). Because it sucks. 🙂


  3. One suggestion is turning off your speakers — if you turn off all speakers (turn off external speakers and mute all internal sounds) and you’re still hearing the sound, it may be a system warning, in which case you should get your computer checked out immediately, as it could be something relatively critical.

    It’s hard for me to say what this could be, otherwise — but the fact that it didn’t go away when you shut off all sounds is a little alarming.

    If the sound does go away after you’ve disabled all speakers, then you’ll need to find what’s making the sound. Disable programs one at a time to find out which program is triggering the sound, etc.

  4. Help !!! I am going NUTS !!! I am computer “illiterate” but I all of a sudden got the “Bloop” sound on my computer…I have run every single scanning agent I have .I have tried doing what was recommended to get rid of the “clicking sound” or to get “no sound at all” NOTHING is working !! I had it once before, ran a complete computer scan and it went away…this time it didn’t…what an annoying sound !! I have IE7…the first time I got the bloop sound was after doing a windows update, I have not done any updates since then, I already have every one available…WHAT CAN I DO to keep my sanity ??

  5. Wallpapers,widescreen wallpapers; April 30, 2009 at 12:25 am

    I Cant believe your tutorial was the ONLY help for this! When I tried to find “sounds? in IE (Internet Explorer) help, it just said that I can change sounds-Look in Windows help. Gee-thanks. I couldn’t find that either.This browser works perfect, and i prefer this browser to everyone guys!!

  6. Fairfield Inspection; April 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Really nice post..I did find that the obnoxious clicking sound that I experienced bled through into other programs, however: and sometimes just occurred spontaneously, when I wasn’t even doing anything. That’s what really drove me nuts.

  7. Apex Professionals; April 13, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    As a general rule it is working fine but it’s irritating little glitch.. It does not allow me to change my desktop icons .. It is irritating and keeps blocking the screen when moving the mouse over or near an advertising link…

  8. @Smith, even i liked firefox to the core, Most of the people would prefer firefox more than IE (Internet Explorer), As you said, IE latest version sucks, MS itself gave an advertisement that don’t use latest version of IE.

  9. I personally don’t like Internet explorer, And i heard that the IE (Internet Explorer) new version also sucks 😀 lol I used to work with firefox, This browser works perfect, and i prefer this browser to everyone guys!! 😀

  10. Thanks for enjoying the post, Gary. I just imagine this cacophonous cavern filled with Microsoft software testers…all going slowly insane because of the noise…

  11. One thing y’all missed on this Sound / No Sound issue. No Sound = a wee-bit faster performance from the App & OS, which is helpful on slower processors.
    I like the article, though. VERY damned funny (& useful/practical, too!)
    When I read the part about all the Microsoft testers have their sound on so they never realize it as a bug . . . Laughed My A** OFF! Expecially since I was a tester at Apple (at one point in my career), and this is *EXACTLY* like I’ve always pictured Microsoft testers.

  12. Very cool. Glad I was able to help you solve your problem!

  13. Thank you very much for your help Joe.
    I did just that and sent an email to Microsoft with what i just said to you.
    Turn’s out you were right, and it was a problem with My OS series batch.
    Microsoft then sent me a patch for the problem and that fixed it.
    But thank you. With out your help i wouldn’t have been able to fix it.


  14. Well, I’m sure this isn’t the answer you were looking for — but that sounds like your computer may have some problems. It’s possible that what’s happening is a series of errors and alerts from Windows XP which aren’t rendering graphically; so you never see the warning, but some error has actually happened.

    My guess is that there’s more of a problem than with sound effects; it may actually be something else. Perhaps you should look for some OS error support and see if you can find anything from Microsoft!

    Best of luck,

  15. Hello everyone.

    Lately my computer has been playing random sound effects that have nothing to do with what i am doing on the computer at the time. I also haven’t been in I.E when they start playing, I could just be in a word document and they start, then i cant do anything to stop them playing, I have closed all programs i have been in and restarted the computer many times and they continue to play when i turn on the computer again. So i have done what is said above and turned off all the sound effects through ‘control panel ‘ and yet the sound effects continue. I have identified the random annoying sound effect as ‘Windows XP information bar’ sound effect and ‘Windows XP Error’ sound effect. I am currently running Windows XP professional 2007.

    I hope all this makes sense, and i look forward to a reply.
    Thank you all.

  16. Well, that’s an interesting question, GiGi. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you — it sounds rather unrelated to the browser itself. It seems like maybe it’s a problem with your mouse, actually — but I really don’t know for sure. It’s not something I’ve actually witnessed myself.

    Best of luck!