I was able to do this before, but I cannot for the life of me remember how. Its not just a simple as opening up a sound settings manager and selecting system sounds (unless there is a package I can install? let me know), it had to do with running a few commands in terminal. If anyone knows anything, please let me know.

INFO: Xubuntu 19.04 Fresh install

  • It shows that they are enabled. What I mean is, how to enable a different event sounds scheme. I know how to download them, and where to put them ( usr/share/sounds), but theres a way to actually enable all of the different sounds themselves, like for right clicks, clicking the app drawer button, opening and closing windows, and maximizing and minimizing them etc
    – DPS
    Jul 8, 2019 at 17:03
  • I've started to trace back in my browsing history, looking for the exact way that I did it previously. I'll find it and then post my solution.
    – DPS
    Jul 8, 2019 at 17:08
  • yes, thats what I am trying to do. But in xubuntu, there is no gui way to change these sounds, or even enable them in the first place. At least not in Xubuntu
    – DPS
    Jul 8, 2019 at 17:12
  • This is the one that I've used before: opendesktop.org/p/1149504 this is the exact one that i was using before I did a fresh install. There was a way to do this, I just cant remember. Im trying to find what i did through my browser history lol
    – DPS
    Jul 8, 2019 at 17:19
  • for sure. I'll be here
    – DPS
    Jul 8, 2019 at 17:25

2 Answers 2


So here is the way to do this, I forgot that there is documentation on this somewhere on the Ubuntu forums. I figured I'd post it here for anyone looking to do this :) (this is for the sound theme "smooth", but it is easily adapted for almost any sound theme you want to install). I have also made a few relative changes, to make this more readable:

  1. Install some required packages: sudo apt-get install gnome-session-canberra sox

  2. Download the sound theme

  3. Extract the file: tar xzvf foo.tar.gz

  4. Copy the extracted content ("foo" folder) to your sounds directory: /.local/share/sounds (create the "sounds" directory if it does not exist yet)

  5. Enable sound events and feedback sounds.

In example in Mate go to Control Center --> Sounds and enable them there; in Xfce it is done by entering in the terminal: xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Net/EnableEventSounds -s true xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Net/EnableInputFeedbackSounds -s true

  1. Set "foo" as the default sound theme

In example in Mate go to Control Center --> Sounds and set it there; in Xfce it is done by entering in the terminal: xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Net/SoundThemeName -s "foo"

  1. Setup the necessary environment variable. Add to the end of ~/.profile: Code:

GTK_MODULES="$GTK_MODULES:canberra-gtk-module" export GTK_MODULES

That should be it. Perhaps a logout is needed before it starts working.


  1. For a startup sound, create a new autostart application (Settings Manager or Control Center >> Session and startup >> Application autostart) with the following parameters: - Name = Login Sound - Command = canberra-gtk-play -f ~/.local/share/sounds/foo/stereo/desktop-login.oga

  2. For logout sound, you need override xfce4-session. To do so, with root privliges, create the file /usr/local/bin/xfce4-session with the following content..



# run the real xfce4-session executable

# on exit, run my stuff
canberra-gtk-play -f ~/.local/share/sounds/foo/stereo/desktop-logout.oga

And make this file executable:
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/xfce4-session

  • lol thank you! It was so frustrating at first, but thank you for helping me!
    – DPS
    Jul 8, 2019 at 18:09
  • hey, also, i wanted to give yo a link to a WAYYY better sound theme for Xubuntu: opendesktop.org/p/1187979 Thats the one I'm using now. I messed up earlier when I referenced that "fresh and clean" one.
    – DPS
    Jul 8, 2019 at 18:20

In my case it helped to go to: Start menu - All Settings - Appearance (VERY unintuitive) - Settings tab - Event sounds - Enable event sounds.

After enabling I can hear a sound when new e-mail arrives. Though, I don't know how to change sound theme or anything, unless it is program/notification specific sound which I can change in the program (for example in Thunderbird).

  • 1
    Nice! My question and answer were geared more towards the various system UI sounds, like one that gets made when you click the programs menu, or click the minimize or maximize window button, or other various ones. If you're into having these sounds, you should really check them out! the opendesktop website has some pretty neat sound themes, that you can apply with my answer above. Give your desktop a modern and responsive feel to it!
    – DPS
    Dec 6, 2019 at 9:25

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