Replace the System Beep with a Compiz Effect

Annoyed by the system beep from the speaker inside your computer’s case? You’ve probably noticed it when pressing backspace on the terminal prompt, or when Firefox’s find function can’t locate your query. Using Compiz, it’s possible to turn off the beep and replace it with a cool visual effect.

I’ve posted before on disabling the system beep by blacklisting the pcspkr module. For most people this post is a better solution because you’ll still have the beep when you might need it, such as in a virtual terminal.

Title wave effect

You need to have CompizConfig Settings Manager installed to access all of Compiz’s settings.

Install CompizConfig Settings Manager from the package compizconfig-settings-manager (click the link to install), or by running the command below in your terminal:

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Open it from System->Preferences->CompizConfig Settings Manager, or System->Preferences->Advanced Desktop Effects Settings depending on your version of Compiz. I’ve upgraded from Ubuntu 8.04’s version to 0.7.6.

To disable the system beep while running Compiz, click General Options, and deselect the Audible System Bell option.

Now you can find a system beep effect that you like and enable it, these options are identified by a music note icon. Here’s a list of all the ones I found:

Remember that you need to have the relevant plugin enabled to get the effect.

If you’re not a Compiz user, or sometimes have to turn Compiz off, system beep preferences for GNOME’s default Metacity window manager can be found in System->Preferences->Sound->System Beep.

Archived Comments


I’d rather have no effects nor beep. Why don’t the Ubuntu developers remove the beep? And Tom I tried your Kubuntu over Ubuntu hack. It didn’t work!!!
I had asked you in the comments how to install Kububntu over Ubuntu you said to add CD in Synaptic source. I did that but the things added wee stupid ones like lib things and no Amarok. Are your hacks applicable to PCLinuxOS or Fedora?
I have my new Linux blog
so in future I might like to advise the same stuff. So I thought I’d better ask.

Scott Wegner

This is kinda cool. I don’t have Compiz running on my computer, but this is arguably the first *useful* feature I’ve heard of that it provides. Perhaps I’ll re-enable desktop effects just for this.


Nice post. I love these little tricks, and would never know about them if you (and others) didn’t post this kind of stuff.

Keep up the good work!

Vadim P.

Can’t quite figure out how to make it use the water plugin


Wow, this is cool. Always wondered what these strange bell options were about. Now I know thanks to you!


you can also edit /etc/inputrc to include:

# do not bell on tab-completion
set bell-style none

I have never been able to figure out how to make that active immediately (works after a reboot), but that’s one of the first things I do after install. I’ve tried sourcing the file, logout and back in, etc. Maybe all you need to do is ‘modprobe -r pcspkr && modprobe pcspkr’… I never knew about doing it that way. I guess this doesn’t disable it entirely, just where it annoys me most, since I use tab completion to make up for my lackluster typing.


Well I deselect the audio bell BUT WHERE can I set “the system beep effect that you like and enable it”????

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