Get nostalgic with Microsoft Windows boot-up sounds on 30th birthday

20 Nov 2015

Microsoft Windows is celebrating a major milestone in its history – as of today it is 30 years old – and boy, do many of us remember its iconic sounds, which bring back instant nostalgia.

Speaking from this journalist’s perspective, Microsoft Windows remains the operating system for me now and throughout my childhood.

When I first logged on to the internet and stared with amazement at the little spinning globe in the Netscape browser, all achieved through the copper wire of a phone line, Windows was my only way of being able to see a pixelated baby do a funny dance.

Even today, while I sit here surrounded by a sea of Mac computers that now dominate the media industry, my familiarity and defence of Windows as an operating system remains strong, despite that awful period not long ago when the ‘Start’ button was deemed unnecessary.

30 years ago today Bill Gates and co released its first operating system, Window 1.0, which took users to a blue screen, before the time when a large blue screen meant that your computer had some major malfunction.

It took two years from its announcement in 1983 to it hitting the shelves in 1985 and, once released, it quickly became the dominant operating system in the office and home for years, quickly making Bill Gates the richest man in the world.

Ends with Windows 8

But what brings pangs of nostalgia to me at least is not seeing the old Start menu or early versions of the solitaire game, it’s the boot-up noise.

Starting with Windows 3.1, the music has always been a defining element of the operating system but, as of the latest operating system, Windows 10, there is sadly no more music intro.

The company decided after all these years that it was no longer important for your device to alert you to its presence. When pressed as to why the company removed it, it said: “Using Windows 10, you will only hear sounds for things that matter to you. We removed the start-up sound because start-up is not an interesting event on a modern device. Picking up and using a device should be about you, not announcing the device’s existence.”

Regardless, for me the best boot-up sound has got to be Windows 95, having been composed by (Father) Brian Eno himself, who was approached by Microsoft to create the theme in 1994.

So, as a tribute on its birthday, here are all the sounds you heard when starting your Windows computer throughout the years. Enjoy.

Windows 3.1

Windows 95

Windows 98

Windows 2000

Windows XP

Windows Vista, 7 and 8

Windows 10

Nostalgic Windows boxes image via m01229/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic