Fix: System Sounds Not Playing in Windows

On some systems, the system sounds don’t play even if the Sound Scheme is set to “Windows Default”. Also, if you open the Sounds Control Panel (mmsys.cpl) and click “Test”, the audio may not be played.

However, you may be able to play the C:\Windows\Media\*.wav files (and any other audio file format) separately using Windows Media Player or any other player.


If none of the system sounds files play in Windows, it’s due to a missing “wavemapper” value in the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Drivers32

Let’s see how to fix the issue.


To fix the system sounds issue, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  2. Go to the following branch:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Drivers32
  3. In the right pane, create a new REG_SZ value named “wavemapper” (if it doesn’t already exist.)
  4. Double-click “wavemapper” and set its value data to msacm32.drv
  5. If you’re using Windows 64-bit, make the above modifications in the following registry key as well:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Drivers32
  6. Exit the Registry Editor.

REG file to automate the above setting

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;For Windows 64-bit

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Drivers32]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Drivers32]
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;For Windows 32-bit

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Drivers32]
Additional Information: If you run Microsoft’s Autoruns tool, the wavemapper entries show up in the “Codecs” tab.

wavemapper - play system sounds fix

Also, make sure that the digitally signed Microsoft Sound Mapper file “msacm32.drv” exists in C:\Windows\System32 and C:\Windows\SysWOW64 directories. If it’s missing, run the sfc /scannow command.

Windows should be able to play system sounds for each event — e.g., empty recycle bin, low battery alarm, etc.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

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