Although sounds certainly don't change the look of your theme, they do enhance and personalize any theme you create. In the Control Panel (select Start, Control Panel), click the Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices link. The Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices window opens. Click the Change the Sound Scheme link.
The Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box opens. Make sure the Sounds tab is selected (see Figure 4.15).
Figure 4.15. The Sounds tab of the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box.
Two sound schemes are available by default: No Sounds and Windows Default. This doesn't provide a lot of options. So, if you want new sounds for various Windows events (such as the Default Beep or Open program), you have to download some .wav sound files from the Web or create your own sound files using the Windows Sound Recorder (which requires a microphone).
So, let's say you have some new .wav sound files on your computer (from the Web or sound files you recorded) and want to apply them to Windows events. After doing so, you can save your custom sound settings as a scheme.
In the Program Events box, select a program event such as Default Beep; the current sound appears in the Sounds box. To preview the sound, click the Play Sound button.
Before changing a default sound, listen to the default and note the duration of the sound. You should try to replace defaults with sounds that are similar in duration (the time they take to play) to the default. For example, you wouldn't want a Default Beep sound that played on and on. You'd want a short, quick sound (like the default beep). If you have some sound files of longer duration, think about using them when you start or exit Windows.
To change the sound for the selected program event, click the Browse button. The Browse window opens to the C:\WINDOWS\Media folder, which contains the various default sounds. You can use the available sounds or browse for a custom sound (one you downloaded or created).
Use the Look in drop-down list in the Browse dialog box to locate the drive and folder that holds the sound file you want to use. The filename appears in the Sounds box. Click the Play sound button to preview the sound.
You can change the default sound for other program events as you prefer. You don't have to change all the defaults, nor do you have to assign sounds to events that do not have sounds by default. After you have made your changes to the sound settings, you should save your sound scheme. Click the Save As button. In the Save Scheme As dialog box, provide a name for the sound scheme and click OK. Now your sound scheme appears on the Sound Scheme list.
When you have finished working with the various sounds and saving your scheme, click the OK button to close the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box. You can also close the Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices window to return to the desktop. Now that you have modified all the various theme elements, you can save your theme.