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Every now and then (e.g. twice a day) I hear a strange - brief - sound on my computer (Windows 7), that I believe to be from a background application like Windows Live Messenger, Teamviewer, Skype or some such.

Is there a direct way of finding/tracing the origin of that sound; without disabling all the applications and then turning each on one at a time?

I'm thinking something like "Process Monitor for Sounds" that I can activate and then have a log created whenever a sound is generated?

Update 2011-07-24

Ha! Just heard that sound again. It was approx. 1 second long and sounded like the chirping of a cricket (Here is a sample).

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Do they seem to happen at the same time every day? I am thinking there may some scheduled task in Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools>Task Scheduler. –  KCotreau Jul 23 '11 at 14:42
Thanks, @KCotreau I'll check this. I think it appear at random times. –  Uwe Keim Jul 23 '11 at 19:05
I use all the programs you mentioned (although Skype not as much), and I have never had them make random noises. Perhaps you can describe the noise. Is it a beep, or more like some sound like from a wave file? For the record, I can't say there isn't one, but I don't know of any program that tracks noises. –  KCotreau Jul 23 '11 at 22:10
Best bet that you try to record it and upload it. –  surfasb Jul 23 '11 at 22:22
Are you sure that it's not actually a cricket? :-) –  Joe Internet Jul 24 '11 at 16:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Just figured out the cause of the sounds: It was a notification sound whenever a visitor navigates to our support chat LiveZilla on our website.

Following is a screenshot of the (German) options dialog of LiveZilla:


I now solved my issue of the random sounds, although the question about a "Sound trace" still seems to be answerable by only: "Not available".

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It isn't a good solution since it does not hint anything related to the key point [[[HOW?]]] –  Antony Lee Jan 14 at 13:51

The simplest way I can think of is to use the Volume Mixer. It lists all the processes that are currently using the speaker as you can see here:

Volume Mixer

How to start the volume mixer:

  1. Win+R"sndvol"Enter

Alternative Solution:

It seems Process Monitor is the Process Monitor for sounds. You can set a Path filter for common audio format extensions like WAV and start capturing events. The relevant process that played the audio file should then be listed in Process Monitor.

  1. Set the Path filter to include entries that contain WAV Process Monitor Filter

  2. Start capturing and wait for the process to play the sound ProcMon capture

  3. Look at the output to figure out which operations don't keep recurring and create an Operation filter to exclude all other operations and separate the signal from the noise ProcMon - Include QueryOpen

  4. You should see a filtered list of processes with the sounds they've played ProcMon - Filtered List

NOTE: You might not be able to detect ALL programs that play a sound with this method (e.g. Google Chrome playing a YouTube video) but this should satisfy your need for logging sound plays.

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As of writing, my question was for Windows 7. Does your answer work for Window 7, too? –  Uwe Keim Jan 14 at 6:37
@UweKeim Yes, this how Win 7 works as well. –  krowe Jan 14 at 6:49
@UweKeim I don't have access to a Windows 7 machine at the moment but the new Volume Mixer has been around since Windows Vista so it should work –  Vinayak Jan 14 at 7:17
@UweKeim seems to work fine on Win7. Not sure how long applications producing sound stay there after the sound is finished, but it definitely shows them. –  Ale Jan 14 at 9:49
This looks like a winner with your latest update! Process Monitor was exactly what I was looking for. –  Matthew G. Jan 16 at 16:29

A possible way to trace sound generation would be to monitor calls to the various audio/multimedia APIs using an API monitor. I sometimes used http://www.rohitab.com/apimonitor, it is very powerful (and moreover free); unfortunately, I didn't see an option to automatically attach to new processes, which means that you would need to manually attach the API monitoring program to every new program you start. And if you are using a 64-bit version of Windows, you would even need to run both 32-bit and 64-bit versions at the same time to be able to monitor both kinds of processes... so, possible but heavy to do.

Here is an example of Skype generating a ringtone, while intercepting calls to audio/video APIs (it did more than 1.5k API calls to produce that sound!):

APIMonitor monitoring audio API calls on Skype.exe during ringtone

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