ConEmu + ubuntu on windows: bell

I’m pretty happy with how my Unix setup on Windows is working. But there’s one horrible thing; the awful bell sound in the terminal emulator. Every time I hit tab in bash to complete it plays a good old ASCII 0x7 BEL, and it’s some earth-farty three tone loud sound that is just awful.

The solution is simple; go to the volume mixer and set the volume for “Console Window Host” to 0. Now your shells won’t make any audible noise. Of any kind. Peace and quiet.

What I really wanted was to reconfigure the bell sound. PuTTY has a whole set of options for this. I think it’s not really possible though. ConEmu can’t or won’t do it, as the author angrily keeps telling users. Apparently his code isn’t playing the bell at all, it’s being passed through to a lower level Windows console handler of some sort. There is an option for intercepting the bell but it’s not working for me for some reason, at least not on Ubuntu-on-Windows. It does seem to work for msys.

Another option often suggested is to configure your Unix programs not to use a bell for alerts. You can set it in bash, and GNU readline, and vim, and less, and… that way lies madness.

It turns out the sound is actually being played by Microsoft’s software, somewhere deep in their version of Bash or WSL or something. And it’s apparently not configurable. But you can find it in the volume mixer and cut off its air supply.

God that sound was awful.

Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells —
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

Update: the plot thickens. The sound that’s being played is supposed to be a honest-to-good beep, the one generated by the motherboard with its integrated trashy speaker. Not your fancy stereo sound system. Modern hardware doesn’t have speakers, and starting in Windows 7 there was a special “beep driver” written to intercept this low level beep system ability and replace it by playing a wav file.

The sound Windows 10 seems to be playing is the sound event “Critical Stop” which is set to play “Windows Foreground.wav”, that horrible sound. I replaced it with “Windows Ding” and it’s better.