How to Redirect or Block Most Audio Output?
May 11, 2011 7:44 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to make sure that nothing except iTunes outputs sound while running XP?

I've got a wedding reception (my own!) coming up in a couple of weeks, and we're going to be hooking an Asus 1000he running XP up to a PA system. I'll have a few playlists loaded in iTunes that a friend will be switching between as needed.

What can I do to make sure that nothing except for iTunes outputs any sound? I'm primarily a Linux and Mac guy, and know my way around XP, but am worried that I'll miss something if I try to disable any possible notifications manually. Is there any sort of program (Detour for Mac comes to mind) that would allow me to redirect everything except iTunes's output? Failing that, what's the best strategy to minimize the chances of a Windows Update or something else throwing up a sound-making notification?
posted by SpiffyRob to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not aware of any utility that does this as such, but the "Sounds" control panel should have a "No Sounds" preset you can fire up as needed. It doesn't actually turn the sound output off, but it disables all alert and notification noises, which sounds like what you're trying to do.
posted by valkyryn at 7:52 AM on May 11, 2011

Thinking outside the box, if you have an Apple Express wireless router handy (and maybe some other device if any others are out yet that use AirTunes/AirPlay), you could output the iTunes sound to it, which will guarantee no other sounds get out, even if they do play on the computer.
posted by General Malaise at 8:09 AM on May 11, 2011

Use an iPod.
posted by rhizome at 10:25 AM on May 11, 2011

Under the heading of "I think this works but it has been awhile..." It's also really fiddly.

Install a virtual soundcard, perhaps VAcard and set the newly installed sound card as the default output device. (Control Panel->Sounds and Audio Devices->Audio tab) This should direct all system sounds to what is effectively nothing. Reboot the computer, possibly... Next, just before starting iTunes, go back to the control panel and set the output device to the 'real' soundcard. Start iTunes, then set the default output device back to the virtual sound card. The main annoyance I can think of is iTunes may switch back to the virtual card if it restarts the sound stream. Unfortunately, I don't recall if iTunes on windows has a dialog to specify the actual sound card it uses.
posted by arrjay at 10:36 AM on May 11, 2011

2nding what valkyryn said - in my experience, if you have the system set to "no sounds" and no other applications running, you won't have anything interfere with your audio. None of the faux mouse-click sounds or ploonks or plinks. Plus, if you're disconnected from the Internet, that should keep XP itself from getting up to anything interesting (like updates).
posted by TangoCharlie at 9:42 PM on May 11, 2011

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