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. 🙂

    Mike

  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.

    Joshua.

  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,
    Joe

  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.
    Joshua.

  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!

  17. This has nothing to do with the click in ie. I use vista business os becz it is preinstalled on this laptop. The browser is I.E. 7. Windows open upon mouse over and and bounce around all over the place. Is there a fix for this? It is very annoying.

  18. Actually the bloop is from the information bar sound, which nearly blews my ear drums apart while listening to music… maybe a claim against MS for induced deafness. I am hard of hearing and if I thought it was loud, well I dread to think what ‘normal’ peoples hearing suffers like.

    Clicks aren’t so much a problem although to be honest, if I don’t know I’ve clicked on something, maybe I shouldn’t be operating a computer. As for getting rid of IE7, not much point as all that happens is it gets IE6 substituted. I usually use Opera anyway. Far more civilised and definately THE browser to use

  19. The person I finally talked to told me it couldn’t be done after consulting a number of times with other people around him.

    Wow. Simply speaking, wow. An interface that can’t be customized even to that trivial level, in this day and age? That’s really incredibly stupid. I have to admit that my usage of IE7 is so low that I’ve never given any thought to customizing the interface. I don’t honestly care what the interface is like — I just have to have the product available for my work.

    But that’s utterly shocking.

    One thing I’ll say, though — you say that IE7 went away peaceably when you uninstalled it. On that point, you were lucky. I didn’t have any such luck on one computer where I had “temporarily” installed IE7. Instead, it refused to uninstall at all and left me with an IE7 which crashed everytime I attempted to close it. Granted, not the worst time to crash, since obviously I no longer needed it at that point, but incredibly irritating!

    Thanks for your comments. (Or should I say, for your rant?)

  20. While I hadn’t gotten to worring about clicks yet, my complaint deals with changes in the interface. Microsoft set up IE7 so that it uses up three (3) bars worth on screen space at the top of my screen. I called Microsoft (another problem) and tried to get help combining these bars into at least two bars (I prefer 1 bar ideally). The person I finally talked to told me it couldn’t be done after consulting a number of times with other people around him. So, what I’m left with is an interface that has less flexibility than the previous version, IE6 where you could combine different elements to reduce the clutter at the top of your screen. So far, IE7 seems to be another software case of 2 steps forward and one step backward.

    The other issue related to IE7 is the GREAT difficulty I had and getting help in trying to change the interface. If you go to the apparent Microsoft master support page for IE7 (I was sent there by an earlier tech MS support person) there is one option called “Find Help, Get Answers” which when you click on it returns you to the same page. There is also an extremely limited FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) that can be found by other means (searching). The statement that eventually incurred my wrath is on the same forementioned page that says “Call our support number and get the answers you need to get you browsing with Internet Explorer 7 quickly and easily. Support number: 1-866-234-6020”. When you call this number you will be told that this is for support ONLY for downloading and installation problems. Things like dealing with the new interface (and I assume everyting else) are not available through that number.

    Perhaps like some of you, I am an avid manual reader and have no problem reading help and FAQ online sources. But in this case, none of these exist. Not only did I search for such help (you always get the same useless page mentioned above), but not of the MANY MS ech support people I called could not direct me to any help source. Sound similar to getting help on “Click”?

    Finally, I uninstalled IE7 by going to Add/Remove Programs under the Control Panel. IE7 went away quite peaceably and IE6 reappeared just as I had left it before I made the poor decision to try and use software with out waiting 2 years for all the bugs to work out. I am puzzled by reports of people not knowing how to get rid of IE7, but then maybe that information was not provided through in the only MS Support number provided.

    Jeff Waymack
    ASPEN Computer Graphics

  21. You’re lucky…I spent more than just ONE day getting pissed off at it!

  22. Thank you!!! I’ve spent the whole day getting more and more angry at the damn clicking. If firefox didn’t have a memory link that slows down my computer considerably (and I get tired of closing it and reopening it), I wouldn’t have to ever use IE (Internet Explorer). I would have quit using IE 7 if I couldn’t turn of the clicking. I know it’s a small thing but it’s so annoying!!

  23. Glad to help! Anything to fight back against unwanted system intrusions…

    “Windows Updates: Another way of saying ‘Virus!'”

  24. Thanks for posting this. It was highly offensive of the IE7 install to turn this on against my wishes.

  25. The time delay happened to me, too…very weird. There’s nothing worse than software which automatically changes settings on your PC without warning…

    I know what you mean about “2nd class netizens” — although I think Firefox is extremely viable now. I almost never need to open Internet Explorer anymore.

  26. Thanks for the simple instructions. I thought my HP laptop was goofing up, especially when there was a time delay between the click and the sound. No sound is the way to go. Thanks again. I also have Safari and Firefox on my PC, but sometimes they are treated like 2nd class netizens by web developers and not everything works not b/c of the browser, but b/c the developers have to build to the most popular. I think Firefox is taking over in that spot, and that would be good.

  27. Ahhhh…peace at last! Thank you so much, Joe. 🙂

  28. Thanks!
    That click was driving me bonkers!!!
    Kudos to you for providing the means to end the nonsense.

  29. I can imagine that a highly amplified click would be really obnoxious…you can’t really just turn off your speakers in that context! Glad to help, Trevor.

  30. Thank you very much! I am a DJ and use a computer. It’s always a pain to have to look for music in folders while people are listening to clicking noises! Thanks a lot!

  31. Thanks for your comments, Trev. I do, in fact, have a genuine interest in accessible web design, which you might understand if you were to read anything on this site beyond this page.

    In fact, if you were to read this page more closely, you’d understand that my complaint is not about sounds. I make it fairly clear (in my opinion) that the presence or absence of sounds is a personal preference. My complaint is the fact that installing Internet Explorer 7 altered my computer settings too turn on sounds which I had previously had disabled. I am annoyed by the fact that IE (Internet Explorer) chooses to override my settings.

    To make a comparison, imagine that you downloaded IE and it turned your familiar and helpful sounds off. It’s the same issue: the software is behaving invasively by altering your settings.

    I personally prefer no sound: and, after dealing with this annoyance, I wrote this up in case anybody else happened to have the same concern.

    All I’m doing in this article is giving some people instruction how to make a change in their browser: I’m not advising them in what choice to make or claiming in any way that this change will improve the accessibility of their web browsing experience.

  32. The fact that it wasn’t helpful for YOU doesn’t make them unuseful.

    Fair point!

    Assuming you’re interested in balanced and reasonable discussion, it is equally valid for me to say that:

    The fact that the sounds in IE7 Irritate you, and a handful other commentators, doesn’t make them useless, (or “unuseful? if your prefer).

    For people like myself; with slight visual impairments the sounds I mentioned are VERY useful and make the web more accessible to me, and countless others.

    Do you actually have a genuine interest in accessible web design?

    I’m fascinated by the paradox. An accessibility consultant irritated by features that are useful to visually impaired web users. That’s why I was driven to comment – It’s your prerogative to delete my comments, but it would be nice if you could put your ego to one side and give us your considered response.

  33. This post was for anybody who happened to need this assistance — believe it or not, on the basis of the previous comments, it’s been generally considered helpful. The fact that it wasn’t helpful for YOU doesn’t make them unuseful.

  34. Hi Joe,

    This post has nothing to do with IE7’s support for CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), adherence to web standards, or general functionality.

    Yes I totally Agree with the above !

    I like the rss feed and the popup blocker sounds. Having a slight visual impairment; I personally find these alerts very useful. Unlike your instructions to disable the sounds.
    LOL, I mean really 🙂 !
    How many web developers do you imagine don’t know how to disable Windows sounds ? Was this post aimed a technical audience, or to those who need help with basic Windows ?

  35. THANK YOU!!!! 🙂

  36. Good suggestion, Soso – that does seem like a strong possibility.

  37. “ok… those directions turn off the “click,? but IE (Internet Explorer) 7 just automatically downloaded on my computer and now there is an incredibly irritating BEEP (more of a bloop, really) everytime I change pages… it’s quite loud. I can’t get it to turn off… perhaps someone has an idea?”

    Comment by Amelia

    I believe the “bloop” you are talking about is the pop-up blocker blocking a pop up. You could change that in the pop-up blocker settings. So many sites have those darned things you may think it’s every page you go to.

  38. That would be a great button to have available…but so unlike Microsoft, to expect users to actually have a preference different from theirs!

  39. You are my hero of the day!!! 😉 Just spent an hour and a half in anger, looking thought every possible setting. I too thought I had all sounds turned off, since it’s always the first thing I do (that, turning off the user friendly http errors and allowing my self to see system files and file extensions. I so want a button at installation sayin’ “I am a responsible adult and I take responsibility for my actions, please let me see it all!”)

  40. Unfortunately, I don’t know…I didn’t have that particular problem and it’s difficult to guess what the change needs to be!

    You could try resetting all of your computer sounds – or just turn them all off. But if you already tried the “No Sounds” option and had no luck…I don’t know!

    Gotta just LOVE all the completely random changes that IE7 inflicts on a computer.

  41. ok… those directions turn off the “click,” but IE (Internet Explorer) 7 just automatically downloaded on my computer and now there is an incredibly irritating BEEP (more of a bloop, really) everytime I change pages… it’s quite loud. I can’t get it to turn off… perhaps someone has an idea?

  42. So, looks like it’s been a while since I’ve answered these comments! Anyhow…

    Windows registry…well, let’s be frank: I’m not an expert on the Windows OS, and asking people to do anything with their registry sounds a lot more risky to me than giving them some standard OS interface instructions. Don’t really want a bunch of people coming to me with fried operating systems!

    Hadn’t experienced the “Feed Discovered” sound, myself…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.

  43. I found the sound that was bugging me was the “Feed Discoverd” sound. Every website I would go to that had an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed would tick at me. I turned that off and now it is much better.

    I hope this helps someone and thanks for the tutorial.

  44. thanks thanks to you I got rid of this idiot sounds in IE7 , muchos gracias !

  45. Hey Joe,

    Just a thought, but can you not make a reg file with the following contents for people who cannot follow instructions into the Control Panel etc?

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\AppEvents\Schemes\Apps\Explorer\Navigating\.Current]
    @=

    Then they can just download and run the file and the click is outta here. Cheers

  46. Glad to help…I know it REALLY irritated me – spent weeks wondering what was going on when I first installed the beta.

  47. Man U helped me a lot… i thought it was some lousy software i had installed which screwed up some other stuff..
    so i went arround uninstalling everything i had installed the previous day … silly me ..

    thanks a ton man

  48. Glad to help, John – I don’t think it is the only tutorial for this, but the only other one I know about is buried somewhere in Slashdot…

  49. Wow. Thanks Joe! Cant believe your tutorial was the ONLY help for this! When I tried to find “sounds” in Ie help, it just said that I can change sounds-Look in Windows help. Gee-thanks. I couldnt find that either.
    If you’re low-medium tech savvy like me, your’re doomed unless kind folks like you give us the magical key to unlocking some of these things. 🙂

  50. That’s a brilliant idea. Yes, absolutely you could – I’ll write that up tonight. 😉

  51. I got to thinkin’ Joe. I wonder if you could swap out the .wav(?) file for one that says “Get Firefox” 😉

  52. Really, Mike – it’s no problem. IE (Internet Explorer) is well worth venting about.

  53. Yeah, I know. Forgive me Joe. I was just building a site and it was perfect with a single style sheet, but IE (Internet Explorer) 6 required a fix. Ticked me off. I have IE7 and it is better, but frankly I wish they’d go all the way with it, instead of just close.

    To be more on topic, I don’t really like for the “tik” sound the browser produces either. Thanks for telling me how to turn it off. I was a minor annoyance, but I never bothered looking into it.

  54. Can’t argue with you there…that very issue was the reason for my first sentence. It’s pretty telling when I’ve got to make a point of specifying that THIS post isn’t about all of the really common IE (Internet Explorer) irritations!

    I hope very sincerely that IE7, once it’s fully released, is picked up very rapidly by IE6 users – it’s not perfect, but boy is it an improvement.

  55. My comment has nothing to do with IE (Internet Explorer)’s sound effects… Just a rant. I’m freaking sick of IE. It makes my job as a web developer a lot more difficult than it has to be and it makes me mad sometimes. Make a site and everything is just peachy in everything tested, only to find it’s f’k’d up in IE 6. Grrr. Okay, (beep), sorry Joe, rant over (bloop).