Friday, September 01, 2006

PlaySound.exe replaces Beep.exe

All I want my computer to do is play a sound when it's ready for me to log in. That's not the same as getting a login screen. After all, this is Windows XP and it has lots to load in the background, and if I hurry it along too much some of the stuff doesn't work properly. I guess 512MB RAM just isn't enough any more.
After scouring the net unsuccessfully for a beep.exe that actually plays anything, I wrote one. Actually, it turns out to be pretty easy to do. You can download PlaySound.exe from this link. You get a ZIP file that contains a small VB app called PlaySound.exe and a test .wav file of Linus Torvalds pronouncing Linux. Now all I need is something similar for uBuntu Linux.
To run it, just specify PlaySound.exe and the .wav file you wish to play. By default it plays "c:\windows\media\The Microsoft Sound.wav" or if not found, you get a standard "beep".
You must have the Visual Basic 6 Runtime libraries installed, and it needs winmm.dll, which is a standard part of Windows 98 and Windows XP operating systems. It uses the PlaySoundA function call in this DLL.
Now the only thing I can't figure out is how to get the sound to play once all the services are loaded and it's OK to log in. At present I just wait for the hard drive light to stop working. It takes about 3 minutes from power on.
Update 4-June-2007: I have added a second parameter which causes a delay (in seconds) before the file is played. The link now takes you to the PlaySound page.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellently done.

Thank you much.

Nicholas

Anonymous said...

Could you post an executable file that just plays a single beep? Nothing fancy, that way we've got something very portable. Shockingly I have found nothing like this.

Donn Edwards said...

I don't have any tools for writing standalone EXE's. You'll have to ask a Delphi or C developer to do this for you.

Playsound plays a beep if it can't find the sound file you specified, but it relies on the VB6 runtime libraries, so it isn't fully portable.


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