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I'd like to get the terminal bell playing through my speakers, but so far I haven't had any luck. I've tried the suggestions in this question as well as a number of other sources, but I haven't had any luck.

I've also gone the route of un-blacklisting pcspkr in modprobe, but that only works for the beep command, not the terminal bell, echo -e '\a', ping -a, etc. I don't have a "PC Beep" option in alsamixer

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See this bug report: – Flimm Dec 2 '14 at 23:58
up vote 17 down vote accepted

To fix this problem persistently:

  • Run gconf-editor and if the desktop | gnome | peripherals | keyboard | bell_mode setting is present then change it from off to on
  • Run dconf-editor and if the org | gnome | settings-daemon | peripherals | keyboard | bell-mode setting is present then change it from off to on
  • Add pactl upload-sample /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/glass.ogg bell.ogg to the file ~/.xprofile (you need gnome-control-center-data for glass.ogg)
  • Add [ "$DISPLAY" ] && xset b 100 to the file ~/.bashrc

The simplest way to activate this solution is to reboot.

Further, to implement this solution immediately for a terminal window that is already open, run the pactl command and run the xset command in the terminal window in question.

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I put the pactl upload-sample command in a shell script, but your method is more organized. Thanks! – JoBu1324 Dec 12 '12 at 16:54
If you put the pactl command in ~/.xprofile it gets executed at the start of the GUI session. – jdthood Dec 12 '12 at 18:32
The dconf-editor version of the bell-mode setting seems to be org.gnome.settings-daemon.peripherals.keyboard. – lgarzo Jun 21 '13 at 8:59
@lgarzo: Thanks for the tip. I will update the answer. – jdthood Jun 21 '13 at 9:22
@Hibou57: Make sure you have the package containing glass.ogg installed – Janus Troelsen Nov 16 '14 at 13:44

I've encountered this problem before. From what I remember, the problem is that the terminal bell tries to ring an internal computer speaker (as in an old-school desktop) but laptops and some newer computers are missing such a thing.

The only solution I found at the time was to sudo apt-get install sox and

play -n synth <duration in seconds> sine <freq in hz> vol <volume (0-1)>


 play -n synth 0.1 sine 800 vol 0.5
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try my solution - I'd love to know if it works for you! – JoBu1324 Dec 11 '12 at 23:10
you may use speaker-test for this too – Janus Troelsen Jun 11 '14 at 9:05

I finally found a solution, which doesn't require alsamixer to have a PC Beep option. I think I remember all my changes:

uncomment the following in /etc/pulse/

  • load-sample-lazy x11-bell /usr/share/sounds/ubuntu/stereo/bell.ogg
  • load-module module-x11-bell sample=bell-windowing-system

per this bug, run pactl upload-sample /usr/share/sounds/ubuntu/stereo/bell.ogg bell.ogg

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Tried this, pactl gave me Connection failure: Connection refused pa_context_connect() failed: Connection refused. – YodaDaCoda Dec 11 '12 at 23:33
Maybe this thread will help - if you've ever run pulseaudio as root. – JoBu1324 Dec 11 '12 at 23:49
I'm having a different problem, actually. Pulseaudio throws Failed to open module "module-esound-protocol-unix": file not found. Probably not worth discussing here since I'm running 13.04, though I would love to be able to verify your solution. – YodaDaCoda Dec 12 '12 at 0:05
Nice, just slightly different lines for 15.04. – VRR Sep 12 '15 at 11:09

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