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When I switch on my Windows 7 laptop a few minutes after turning it on I hear a single click sound like the one Internet Explorer gives during browsing. I don't use Explorer at all. I use Firefox. What can it be then?

Is it coming from Explorer running in the background? Or is it not related to Explorer at all? Has anyone else experienced something like this?

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It is most likely a default system sound and unrelated to the running of IE at all.

Often a system will have a number of preset sounds for alerts and events it will use. Often these are reused between applications and actions of similar context (opening a file, opening a web page, opening an application, etc.).

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Is there a way to determine which application uses this sound? – Tom Feb 24 '10 at 12:05
I'm not sure. I'm not familiar with the sounds in Windows. I would check out preferences in the control panel though. – Josh K Feb 24 '10 at 15:36
You can use ProcMon to figure out what process is loading the .WAV file in question. Do you use the Windows sidebar by any chance? – EricLaw Feb 25 '10 at 4:25
I don't see any Vista-like sidebar in Win7, but I do use some gadgets. – Tom Feb 25 '10 at 5:46

Explorer itself has a click sound to indicate navigation. You can remove (or change) this is the sound control panel | sounds | Windows Explorer | Complete Navigation.

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Okay, but removing the sound only hides the issue. I'd like to know why this sound is played in the first place. – Tom Feb 24 '10 at 12:05
@Tom: Because Windows Explorer is programmed to do so, as each navigation (e.g. selecting a new folder) is completed. (I know this is just restating "because it is", but for more you would need to ask the implementation team from when this first appeared -- several Windows versions ago). – Richard Feb 24 '10 at 15:35
Okay, but as I stated in the original question I don't use Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer at all. I use Firefox. So why this sound is played in this case if I never start Explorer? – Tom Feb 24 '10 at 20:59
@Tom: Some other app then (maybe whatever you use in place of Windows Explorer for managing files/folders). – Richard Feb 25 '10 at 8:52
I use Total Commander. It definitely doesn't have this sound. – Tom Feb 25 '10 at 9:29

Use Process Monitor from, and create a filter to only display access to the audio file that is being played.

enter image description here

On my machine, this file is called "Windows Navigation Start.wav".

If I play the file manually, using Windows Media Player, I see this event in Process Monitor. Notice I also see it when I browse around in Windows Explorer.

enter image description here

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It's probably coming from Explorer. First of all: Internet Explorer is a web browser. Windows Explorer is the Windows file manager. Sure, sure, they share a lot of code. And a user interface. And you can make either one look and act just like the other. But they are distinct. More importantly, when you use Windows, you are using Explorer. It is always running. Your desktop is an Explorer window. So the sound is probably coming from (Windows) Explorer when it shows your desktop.

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