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Re: what the beep? - a very strange bug

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  • Subject: [mg74525] Re: [mg74513] what the beep? - a very strange bug
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at>
  • Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 05:18:28 -0500 (EST)
  • Reply-to: jfultz at

If available, Mathematica will try to play the Default Beep defined in the 
Sounds [and Audio Devices] control panel.  That is the very first place I'd

Unfortunately, the playing of the beep under Windows is synchronous...i.e.  it 
actually stops everything to play the beep, then continues.  So a really long 
beep sound can cause noticeable pauses in the operation of the front end. This 
will be fixed in next release.

Another route to working around this is to remove "Beep" from any of the actions 
which produce it in the Option Inspector.  Choose Format->Option Inspector, set 
the scope to global, and check the various options under Global Options -> 

John Fultz
jfultz at
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.

On Fri, 23 Mar 2007 19:15:24 -0500 (EST), Matt Enlow wrote:
> Just the other day I noticed some very strange behavior in Mathematica.
> Whenever I received an error/warning message, it would display the
> message, then completely freeze for a full 15 seconds, after which it
> beeped--but not its normal beep, a much more "primitive", Atari-like
> beep--and un-froze. And everything's fine again. It would do that for
> every warning message cell. Display, 15-second freeze, strange beep,
> unfreeze.
> I then noticed that this would happen WHENEVER a beep was supposed to
> occur, such as typing in a mismatched grouping construct (like
> "(2x+3]"). It would freeze for 15 seconds, then strange-beep and
> unfreeze. So my guess was that it was spending that 15 seconds looking
> for the sound file to create the standard beep, not finding it, and
> giving up and going with some kind of "default beep". I searched all
> help files and online for some kind of a clue as to how Mathematica
> goes about producing its actual "beep" sound, with no luck.
> I tried re-installing Mathematica, thinking that maybe the sound file
> would be replaced, but the behavior did not change! I am baffled.
> Maybe it's really a Windows sound I am missing, that Mathematica just
> co-opts? (Oh, I'm running v5.2 of Mathematica on Win XP Home Edition,
> SP2). Any ideas/insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
> Matt Enlow
> West Newton, MA

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