How-To: Changing the Windows Vista Startup Sound

Of the many controversies surrounding Windows Vista, probably the most infamous (and pathetic) issues brought to the table is the Windows Vista Startup sound – and how to get rid of it. If  you were anywhere but under a rock during the beta, it’s impossible to have missed the posts going back and forth by haters and supporters of Windows Vista’s new startup sound – which, like almost everything else in Windows Vista, doesn’t even always work.

This sound isn’t the one you get on startup (which is still there, just like in previous versions of Windows), but rather the one that plays right when Windows finishes loading – and you can’t do a thing about it. In our opinion, it’s a quite nice sound, but unfortunately you don’t get to hear it (most of the time) if you have a analog/digital sound card with analog being the default. At any rate, for those of you that don’t like it, chin up: it can be changed!

  1. Grab reshacker (or XN Resource Editor, if you prefer), they’re both invaluable utilities that you should always keep at your side when you want to hack just about any program or feature on Windows.
  2. Copy C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll to another location, and open it with reshacker.
  3. Open the WAVE subfolder, and select the appropriate localized resource as follows:
  4. If you’re using XN Resource Editor, you don’t need to worry about this step: skip on to number 5. Each language has a different code in Windows; in this example, we’re working on a United States English copy of Vista, which has language code 1033. Referring to the list of language codes, German would be 1031, and Spanish is 1034. Open the subfolder pertaining to your particular language code.
  5. You need to replace resource name (number?) 5051 with a Wave file of your own – resource 5051 is the default Windows Vista startup sound, and you’re going to replace it with your own custom (wave!) file.
  6. Save and exit.
  7. Backup the original \Windows\System32\imageres.dll file, replace the existing one with your newly-modified uber-cool version, and reboot to check it out.

66 thoughts on “How-To: Changing the Windows Vista Startup Sound

  1. @JT Link

    Tell us something more about what you didnt’t understand to help you.. ;-)

  2. In the process of doing all this (I never could delete the imageres.dll file using all the aforementioned ideas)….I have changed permissions and/or ownership(s) not only FOR THAT FILE, but apparently for the entire SYSTEM32 folder. I am the only admin/user on this system (laptop). Now, I cannot get into much of what I could do before. Example: “personalizaion,” “users,” “sounds” etc. within CONTROL PANEL do not open at all. System Restore won’t open. When I try to modify things (permissions, ownerships, etc.) I now get a message “cannot open access control editor . I DO NOT WANT TO REINSTALL VISTA from scratch if at all possible. Is there a way I can “roll back” to owerships/permissions as they were say 24 hours ago before this all got messed up? I am fairly proficient, and can run command lines from a DOS prompt if I know precisely what to input. I’d simply like to go back to where I started. Any ideas?

    Jeffrey/St. Louis

  3. @JT Link
    With unlocker i’m 100% sure that you can delete the file..
    Anyway, with your problem, can you run system restore from safe mode??
    Try with safe mode first and will see what you can do if this won’t work…

  4. OK….let’s try something else. I need ownership and permissions for the SYSTEM32 folder (and all of its files). I don’t know how to run the right command line for TAKEOWN with the right switches so that I have onwership and ALL permissions for everything inside SYSTEM32. Can somebody provide a line that I can run from the command prompt from WITHIN the SYSTEM32 folder? Access right can go either to Administrators (I am the only one), or my UAC Jeffrey T


  5. Ok first off if someone wants to tell people how to do something they should not assume that everyone will know what their talking about.
    secondly i would be cautious of a site that tells you to change .dll files and then advertizes a dll repair tool at the bottom of the page.
    when i get the time i will make a simple program that will allow people to change all the sound files automaticaly. (i’m going to take my sweet time!)
    untill then only hacks, cracks, writer’s and geeks should know how to do this for everyone else… make do with control panel, hardware and sound,
    change system sounds (you can use any wav file to replace system sounds) unfortunatly you can’t change all the sounds from here.
    Good luck to you all.

  6. Hey is there any limitation on length? Because the wave cuts-off after 3 seconds for me. How do I make it play the whole wave?

  7. >charizardpal

    I would LOVE to know the same thing. It ends after roughly 3 seconds there must be a way to extend this somehow?

    Thanx in advance!

  8. Hi,

    i’ve spended 2 days on this ‘ WPF blocking ” or ” cannot rename this file ” problem. Only solution, what had help in my case (im using Windows Vista 64-bit with NTFS file system) was: make Live CD of any newest Linux and boot from it (i’ve tryed to make Bart Live XP CD, but the system file protection was still enabled), and from Live booted Linux you’ll be able to replace this Vista system protected file (imageres.dll)

    Hope, that help.


  9. Worked for me when I used the permissions instructions provided by WhipsAudio *while in* safemode.

  10. okay, I’ve got the imageres file edited, now how do I replace it, I can’t even seem to do it in safe mode, a little help would be nice

  11. okay, so I finally discovered a way to replace the .dll file with the new one, for those of you like me who have had no luck with what the others on this blog have said follow these steps after doing everything else, so you should have ownership already; up msconfig (easy way to do this is open up run [keyboard shortcut windows key + r] and type in msconfig) the general tab chose selective start up and clear the check box for the system services the boot tab choose safe mode, I usually use safe mode with networking apply, then okay, it will ask you to restart, go ahead and restart and when you’ve restarted replace the file.

    now, I still have a problem, it will not play the song I chose when it first starts up, but if I lock my computer, when I log back in, it’ll play, which is fine cause I don’t shut down anyway, I simply hibernate my computer, but this will not completely solve it for those who actually do shut down.

  12. Ha! I’m only 15 and it works perfectly.

    Somehow, My whole song plays?
    Its like 2:00mins long =D

  13. Hey all,

    whips method helped and i also had to go into safe mode. so basically i just saved my new imageres.dll as imageresMOD.dll and did what whips said and changed the permissions on it, then booted in safe mode and changed the name of the original one to imageresORIG.dll and my imageresMOD.dll one to imageres.dll

    This worked for me.
    also im running vista 64bit if that is of importance to anyone. hope this helps.

  14. Okay, so I’ve got a quick question. How do I change the power on and power off sound of my laptop? I am tired of hearing the same old thing over and over again. I’ve got a friend who has had hers changed, but she doesn’t remember how her coworker changed it. Could anyone possibly tell me how it is done?


  15. It’s easy use unlocker software to get any permission you can delete the imageres.dll who interested tp know more email me i will send you screen shot for the easy changing of window start up sound,

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