This may seem like a simple task to most people, but I was surprised recently when multiple people asked me how they could go about changing the default sound for Notifications in Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1, of course, is the mismatched version of Windows that seems like it was never quite finished. Some have gone as far as to say that Windows 8.1 is the Frankenstein monster of Microsoft's operating systems because it seems pieced together, combining functions from Windows 7 with a new UI that seems partially stitched together. For example, some Windows settings still exist in the old Control Panel while a small portion sit in the new Windows Settings app.
And, this is the case when attempting to change the default Notification sound for Windows 8.1. If you look in the spot you would expect to be, it's just not there. Changing how Notifications work is available in the new UI, but it doesn't give the option to actually change the sound.
Instead, you have to rely on the old, trustworthy Control Panel to accomplish this feat.
So, to get this done, do this:
- Open the Control Panel Sounds applet, but searching for and executing Change System Sounds.
- When the app opens, locate Notifications in the Program Events list.
- Use the Browse button to open a File Explorer dialog to allow you to search through the list of available sounds.
Windows 8.1 stores sounds files in %windir%\Windows\Media. Even though you can select any sound anywhere in the file system, you should consider storing them all in this provided folder so they are always easy to locate. You can add your own sound files that you find on the Internet or create on your own.
As we've seen in recent Windows 10 Builds, Microsoft is making a concerted effort to merge all old Control Panel applets and Windows 8.1 UI settings into a new, standard location. So, the in future you won't have to look in multiple places just to find a simple Windows setting.