Disable PC speaker beep

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Introduction

The computer often seems to make beep noises or other sounds at various times, whether we want them or not. They come from various sources, and as such, you may be able to configure if or when they occur.

Further, the sounds from the computer can be heard from the built-in case speaker, or the speakers which are plugged into the sound card. This article deals primarily with the former.

The sounds are caused by the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System), the OS (Operating System), the DE (Desktop Environment), or various software programs. The BIOS is a particularly troublesome problem because it is kept inside an EPROM chip on the motherboard, and the only direct control the user has is by turning the power on or off. Unless the BIOS setup has a setting you can adjust or you wish to attempt to reprogram that chip with the proper light source, it is not likely you will be able to change it at all. BIOS-generated beep sounds are not addressed here, except to say that unplugging your computer case speaker will stop all such sounds from being heard. (Do so at your own risk.)

However, everything else which can cause a sound to come out of the computer case speaker can be handled with the suggestions listed below.

One should also note that the option of turning off a particular instance of a sound, while leaving the others operational, is possible if one can identify which portion of the environment is the source of the particular sound generation. This can make a very customized selection of attention-getting sounds possible. Please feel free to add your findings to this wiki page when you find particular examples of settings combinations which may be useful for other users.

Globally

The PC speaker can be disabled by unloading the pcspkr module:

# rmmod pcspkr

Blacklisting the pcspkr module will prevent udev from loading it at boot.

Locally

In X

$ xset -b

You can add this command to a startup file, such as xprofile to make it permanent, or to a dedicated file like in /etc/profile.d, such as /etc/profile.d/disable-beep.sh (must be executable).

In console

You can add this command in /etc/profile or a dedicated file like /etc/profile.d/disable-beep.sh (must be executable):

setterm -blength 0

Another way is to add or uncomment this line in /etc/inputrc or ~/.inputrc:

set bell-style none

Using ALSA

Try muting the PC Speaker:

$ amixer set 'PC Speaker' 0% mute

For certain sound cards, it is the PC Beep:

$ amixer set 'PC Beep' 0% mute

Or merely Beep:

$ amixer set 'Beep' 0% mute

You can also use alsamixer for a console GUI

$ alsamixer

Scroll to PC beep and press 'M' to mute. Save your alsa settings:

# alsactl store

In order for this method to work, alsa must be in your DAEMONS array in /etc/rc.conf.

Note: Not every sound card creates a PC Speaker or PC Beep slider control in alsamixer.

In GNOME/Metacity

In Gconf set /apps/metacity/general/audible_bell  to  false:

$ gconftool-2 -s -t string /apps/metacity/general/audible_bell false

Additional resources

  • Have a look at these man pages for further information: xset(1), setterm(1), readline(3).
  • Kernel modules