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One of the things Microsoft forgot to properly think about when making Windows 7, was the start-up sound.  With every new version of Windows should come a new start-up sound, however they chose to keep it the same as Vista.

If you’d like to change the start-up sound (the sound played when you get to your login screen) then this is the guide for you.  My favourite start-up sound comes from Windows 95 and I’ll be using its start-up sound for this guide.

If you’d like to trip down memory lane and listen to all the Windows sounds, head over here.

I also came across some interesting remixes of the Windows start-up sounds here.

Step 1.

We need to take ownership and create a backup copy of imageres.dll and we’ll do so in the command prompt.

Press WinKey+R, type in cmd and hit click OK.


Step 2.

In the command prompt, type these commands in and hit enter after each one;

cd %windir%\system32

(Changes working directory to system32)

copy imageres.dll imageres-DEFAULT-.dll

(Makes a copy of imageres.dll to the same folder)

TAKEOWN /F %windir%\system32\imageres.dll && ICACLS %windir%\system32\imageres.dll /GRANT Administrator:F

(Changes ownership to Administrator and allows full control of imageres.dll)


Step 3.

Head over to Bome Software’s website and grab a copy of Restorator 2007 you can get a free trial or use an alternative such as resource hacker.

Open Restorator 2007, press Ctrl+O to invoke the open dialog box and type in this address;


Click Open.


Step 4.

In the left pane of Restorator 2007, expand the WAVE folder.

In the main pane, you’ll notice one file named 5080.  This is the default start-up sound played when you get to your login screen.

Right click 5080, and select Assign… > Assign to…


Choose your preferred start-up sound (.wav) and click Open.

Now press Ctrl+S to save your changes and quit Restorator 2007.

The next time you boot your system, you’ll be greeted by the sound you just chose!

Return to Default.

Returning to default is a simple affair.

In Explorer, navigate to %windir%\system32

Rename the current imageres.dll to imageresDELETE.dll

Then rename imageres-DEFAULT-.dll to imageres.dll

All will be restored after the next boot where you can delete imageresDELETE.dll

Any problems, head over to the forums for help.

Have some cool start-up sounds you wish to share? Let us know in the comments!

Tested on Windows 7 x86.  Steps for Vista x86 should be very similar if not identical.

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12 thoughts on “Change the Start-Up Sound in Windows 7 [How To]”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Do you happen to know what is the limit of the wav file’s size? I don’t want to have the system crashing or anything, but despite being a short music, the file I want to use takes a couple of mb.

    1. Rich says:

      That’s a great question to which I have no answer. My recommendation is 2MB is just fine. I’d imagine there is no limit but that’s just my inclination.

      1. Anonymous says:

        OK, I did everything just like its shown here, but when I try to save the file, a message shows up saying “Error overwriting the file. Maybe it is in use or it is running. It wass saved as ‘imageres1.dll”

        It gives me the chance to force the file replace at restarting, but I tried and it didn’t work. I would assume it has something to do with this being a trial version, but I have the same problem with Resource Hacker. I just can’t replace the original file. Is there anything I need to have closed first?

  2. Darkiller says:

    it works. thank you so much

  3. Jojo says:

    I have the same problem as drdvdplayerhandbook had. When i save it, tells me Error overwriting the file …. saved as imageres1.dll
     i can force replace but has no effect. please help :(

  4. jasoncruz98 says:

    Excuse me sir, but what do I do after I make a backup copy of the imageres.dll fiel and it says: 0 files copied, Access is denied.   ????????/

  5. Thomas says:

    I would suggest you try to open the command prompt as an Administrator as shown in the top of the article. (Type Command, or CMD from the Start-Button Search field, and RIGHT click the search results, then choose Run As Administrator)

    You could try to take ownership of the files first, both the “new” and “old”.(http://www.mintywhite.com/windows-7/7maintenance/delete-file-command-prompt/)(http://www.mintywhite.com/more/software-more/ownership-files-drag-drop/)


    As a last resort, reboot the Computer into Safe Mode (Rebot, press F8)and then do the copy and replace there.

  6. stanley says:

    i also having the same problem as drdvdplayerhandbook had. When i finished and save it, it prompts out Error overwriting the file ( saved as imageres1.dll )  i cannot change the startup sounds…. need some advices

  7. Seamus says:

    Thank you, Worked a treat. Tried other ways but this is the only way I managed to get it to work.

  8. Hardikjainluvb says:

    wen i right click (as in last step) for me assign me dialog box doesnt appear..help me pls

  9. Pumpkin says:

    love it ! good trick and good job !

  10. Tanya Taylor says:

    I just put my choice of .wav into Startup comes on straight after the Windows sound, which I have disabled.
    simple, no hack needed.

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