Solved

Unexplained "ding"

Posted on 2008-10-15
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Last Modified: 2008-11-11
My dell laptop running XP Service pack 3 has recently started playing a ding noise for no apooarent reason at various intervals through out the day.  It doesnot correspond with any manually derived event as it hjappens even when the PC is sitting idle!

Can anyone help explain?
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Question by:ruairi56
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13 Comments
 
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:speshalyst
ID: 22724397
try this..
 First, go to:
CONTROL PANEL, HARDWARE AND SOUND, SOUNDS. Find DEFAULT BEEP, and change the sound to NONE.
Second, go to:
CONTROL PANEL, SYSTEM AND MAINTENANCE, DEVICE MANAGER. Click on VIEW, then SHOW HIDDEN DEVICES. Double click on NON-PLUG AND PLAY DRIVERS. Find BEEP and double click. Click on the DRIVER tab, then choose STOP and on the pull down menu, choose DISABLED.
All fixed! No more annoying beeping!
http://www.computing.net/answers/windows-vista/default-beep-at-odd-times/778.html 
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 22724629
Have you checked to ensure that there are no Scheduled Tasks which may correspond with the dings?  The sounds could be made by a program itself rather than through an "event".

I'm thinking along the lines of automated backups or syncing, antivirus update checks, etc.

It's definitely not people in the nearby office canteen heating up their Tesco chicken tikka and Asda SmartPrice bolognese microwave dishes throughout the day? ;-)
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Author Comment

by:ruairi56
ID: 22724742
Thanks.  I am sure this will probably do away with the annoying beep but it doesnt explain why it is happening even when the PC is left idle for well over an hour!  

Is it fundamentally something I should be worried about?  ie virus etc.!
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Author Comment

by:ruairi56
ID: 22724794
They dont like chicken tikka but it could be the bolognese!!

I dont think I have installed anything recently and there can be no programs running when the ding occurs, so I am quite confused!

As long as it is not maliscious!
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 22724802
Just another thought here.  (speshalyst's comment made me think of this).

I always set my Caps Lock, Numlock, and Scroll Lock keys to emit a beep when pressed, so that I know before I type half a question in uppercase.
Control Panel > Accessibility Options > "Toggle Keys".

I recall that when the SendKeys method is used in Windows Shell Scripted processes to automate key presses, that it sometimes has the annoying side effect of turning the NumLock key on and off.  This goes back to my hunch about some automated task going on at intervals during the day, and it would be easy enough to eliminate this from possibilities using the above settings and disable the Toggle Keys beep, if that setting is currently enabled.
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Author Comment

by:ruairi56
ID: 22724850
I dont have toggle keys enabled!
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 22724952
Actually, the above is definitely more of a beep than a ding, but check anyway.

Malicious activity?  Never discount it, but I would have thought that such activity would not have wanted to announce its presence.  If it was something like a Trojan periodically dialling out, and the ding was something that announced an established network or internet connection, then I'm pretty sure you would have been aware of this before now.

Do a file search for *.wav files on your C:\ Drive and then open and listen to each for a matching sound.  If found, temporarily move that *.wav file out to another non-system folder.  That would give you an idea if this is a system beep or a sound from a multimedia file.  You might even get a helpful error if something tries to call a missing sound file.

A small *.wav file could be opened and played using Windows multimedia components without actually visibly opening Media Player or Sound Recorder.

If you have WinZip installed, it has the option to make a sound at the end of a long zip or unzip process.  I can't recall if WinZip can be called to run without the user interface though.  Again, I'm sure you would be aware if you had some scheduled archiving process set, and any malicious monitoring program that compressed and sent out screenshots and such would tend to use its own zipping process and do so covertly.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 22724968
I'm going to have to go and get ready for nightshift shortly, but I hope others will pop in with some useful ideas before you have to get to sleep yourself.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 22725023
I'm wondering just how much activity is captured by the Event Viewer, and if the monitoring can be made broader to see if you can catch this just after it happens next.  I'll think about this during the night.
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Author Comment

by:ruairi56
ID: 22725091
it is the windows ding and since disabling it it appears to be happening using a different sound file!  Ill let it sit for a while and see what happens!
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LVL 38

Accepted Solution

by:
BillDL earned 500 total points
ID: 22725477
OK, here's a possibility I was thinking about in the bath.  A Eureka moment? ;)

Rename C:\Windows\ding.wav to "Backup_ding.wav".  Get a long *.wav file that is distinctive, like a narrative that will take a while to play through.  Rename it as "ding.wav" and copy it into your C:\Windows\Media folder.

Given that this audio file takes a while to play, it may give you the chance to run something like Task Manager or MSInfo32 to capture what programs and processes are loaded and running as it is being played.  
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