Recently I read a great nostalgic post on mashable about this exact topic. Check out the video at the end of the post, that’s the best part.
They presented all of these sounds in a video slide show of sorts, but you needed to click individually on each page. I felt it would be great to take the same content but morph it into a single video (which I have done, see below) and I pasted all of their text for each one so you can read it all in a single glance. If find this works better for people who have limited time and want to see things “at a glance”. 🙂
(from Mashable article)
Microsoft Windows 3.1 Startup Sound
Back in 1992, 3.1’s startup sound was jarring and unpopular.
This prompted Microsoft to create a more aurally pleasing version for its next operating system.
Microsoft Windows 95 Startup Sound
In 1994 Microsoft asked Brian Eno to create a piece of music that was (in his words) “inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental [and] emotional.”
The resulting seven seconds — about twice as long as Microsoft’s initial brief requested — has made tech history as a recognizable “sonic logo.”
Microsoft Windows NT Startup Sound
In 1996, Windows NT 4.0 revealed a fresh, futuristic sound.
Legend has it that the shutdown sound played the startup sound backwards.
Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Sound
Microsoft audio producer Ken Kato is credited with the creation of the Windows 98 sound.
Microsoft Windows 2000 Startup Sound
Microsoft tinkled the ivories with its professional “2000” operating system.
Microsoft Windows ME Startup Sound
The consumer-aimed “Millennium Edition” shared the same audio.
Microsoft Windows XP Startup Sound
The startup chime (and other system sounds within XP) are based on live orchestral recordings.
Composer Bill Brown worked with Emmy-award winning sound designer Tom Ozanich to create the audio.
Microsoft Windows Vista Startup Sound
The Vista startup sound was a collaboration among progressive rock guitarist Robert Fripp, record producer, musician and composer Tucker Martine and Microsoft’s own engineer (and musician) Steve Ball.
In a blog post, Microsoft described the tune as having “two parallel melodies played in an intentional ‘Win-dows Vis-ta’ rhythm,” with four chords — one for each color in the Windows flag.
Microsoft Windows 7 Startup Sound
Finally, Windows 7’s default startup audio is the same as Vista’s.
Which startup sound was your favorite?