How to Find Which Program Is Making Sounds in the Background?


Every now and then my PC located in the bedroom emanated a sound at random intervals, probably caused by an application playing a short media file. And I noticed it twice when entering the bedroom which I thought was a mere coincidence. But it wasn’t actually! Guess what’s the relevance here?

Control Panels – Sounds was the first place where I checked. It was not the Sound Scheme as it was already set to "No Sounds".

With almost a dozen applications running and I didn’t want to disturb them, I fired up the excellent Process Monitor right away, configured the filters so that any entry with ".wav" in the Path is captured. It may not necessarily be a .wav file, but I had a suspicion that it could be, in this case. So I included ".wav", to start with.


After leaving it in Capture mode for about 5 minutes, Process Monitor displayed some relevant events.

WNA1100.exe is the Netgear configuration software that came with my Netgear WNA1100 (Wireless-N 150 USB) Adapter. This software seems to run the ConnectToInternet.WAV file located under the Netgear directory. It’s obvious that the WAV file is played whenever the system / Wi-Fi adapter establishes connection to the internet.

Why the Intermittent Sounds?

The wireless router was located in the first floor of the building, and the signal strength was way too low in the bedroom which is one floor down, and several bends away from the router. The signal strength was fluctuating very often, causing several connect/disconnect sequences within a span of 10 minutes.

No internet access when the signal strength is at its lowest

Access: Local and Internet when the signal strength improves.

Later on I noticed that the sound was certainly reproducible whenever the bedroom door was opened…. that’s when the signal strength improved by 2 points.

For now, I simply disabled the audio and pop-up alerts by right-clicking on the Netgear icon in the Notification area, and disabling the option "Enable Internet Connected Notification" via the context menu. I’m now planning to relocate the Wi-Fi router to improve coverage. Otherwise an additional Wi-Fi Router for the ground floor or a Wi-Fi repeater would be in order.

And if you think what I did was a roundabout way….. believe me it just took 5-7 minutes to track down the source application that caused the sound. Is your PC playing a random audio in the background and that has got you at your wit’s end? This guide can help.

17 thoughts on “How to Find Which Program Is Making Sounds in the Background?

  1. Thanks, found out mine was explorer.exe. That was pretty mind boggling, a reset of explorer didn’t do anything, so I went through each of the sounds in the windows profile until the found “Device Hardware Remove”. It finally dawned on me that I have an old phone I keep plugged into my computer to use as a webcam and it had been auto connecting and disconnecting. I wasn’t getting any notifications because I had turned the annoying pop up off, by telling it “To do nothing when device is plugged in”. Thank you for posting this up! My peace of mind can finally return and now I can get some actual work done!

  2. ANy suggestions besides .wav. I am using the .wav, but procmon is not finding anything and I am still hearing a blip every minute or two. Sometimes two in a row very quickly. Checked the Mixer for applications, but nothing showed up. Set system sound to none and that didn’t make any difference.

  3. I’ve shared your page with my friends. PIDGIN was constantly making noises, similar to “Add Hardware / Remove Hardware” in Windows 8.1 Pro. After taking your advice, I was able to quickly identify the culprit. Stopped all Pidgin processes – No noises!

    You just saved me a lot of headaches! Cheers!

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