Silence pesky computer sound effects


September 10, 2001|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I am an instructor of retirement home residents and need help solving a problem with annoying sounds on their computers. They get an audio "good morning" and "good afternoon" all day when they are using the Internet.

Almost every one of those noisy greetings sounds are using files already on one's computer, so the best fix is to find them on the hard drive and destroy them. For example, the America Online software keeps its "welcome" and "you've got mail" sounds along with others in the AOL directory. Other Internet services use other files elsewhere on one's hard drive.

The best way to stop them is to erase the files (or rename them) so they can't be found while you call up Internet sites. Click on the Start button and then the Find Files and Folders command and type in the keyword *.wav. This displays a list of all of the sound files on your machine. Delete the ones you hate.

Each time I want to use Notepad, a message appears that says, "The C:WindowsNotepad.exe file appears to be corrupt, reinstall the file, and then try again." Then another warning appears: "Windows cannot run this program because it is in an invalid format." I don't know what they mean by "reinstall" the file.

In this case you need to reinstall the entire Windows operating system using the system-restore disk that came with your computer. Most people don't notice these restore disks that are included with the manual and other carton contents packed with computers.

You need to restore the whole operating system because the text editor is not included among the various applications that can be installed and reinstalled one at a time such as the Paint program and WordPad, which might work better for you.

To open Notepad files (they have the extension .txt) with WordPad, find an icon for a Notepad .txt file and hold down the shift key while right-clicking. Pick "Open with" in the display that comes up.

In the next display, scroll down through the list of programs that are displayed and pick WordPad. Put a check in the box for opening all files with the .txt extension with WordPad, and your problem will be nicely papered over if not actually solved.

James Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at

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