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Sound Alert When New Mail Arrives

We all know AOL’s famous “You’ve got mail” voice, but what about Outlook Express and Thunderbird? Is there a way to use a sound for them when mail arrives?

Yes there is! In XP go to the Start> Control Panel.. Open the ” Sounds and Audio Devices ” icon, then click the “Sounds” tab. In Vista go Start>Control Panel>Hardware and Sound>Sound>Change System Sounds.

Find the “New Mail Notification” item. Click the “Browse” button and locate a sound file you would like to use instead.


You can use any wave file you locate in your Windows sound scheme or otherwise. Once you’ve settled on that perfect sound, hit OK and you’re all set.

If you aren’t happy with the Windows sounds that are available head to your favorite search engine and look for “wav” files.

What do you do when you locate wave files on the web? Most of the time, you can click a link to the file to hear the sound. If you like it, right-click the link and select “Save target as” from the resulting menu. Save the file to a location you’ll remember then head back to the “Sounds” screen (under the Control Panel), select the sound item you want the new sound for (“New Mail Notification” in this case), then browse to the file you just downloaded.

You’ll nee to make sure that you have your email program configured to play a sound when mail arrives:

In Outlook Express go to Tools, Options then under the “General” tab check the box marked “play sound when new messages arrive” under “Send/Receive Messages”.


In Thunderbird go to Tools, Options then under the “General” tab check the box marked “Play a sound” under “When new messages arrive:” If you have “System New Mail Sound” selected it will play the sound you just selected. Another option is to choose “Custom .wav file” then browse to a sound file that will play only in Thunderbird.


There you have it—your own sounds for mail notification.

~ Steve (with updates by David and Andrew)