I do not have an internal speaker in my computer. Usually, I rely on the window manager to play a beep through my soundcard when there's a terminal bell, but since I upgraded, that is not working.

I've read that this might be because of compiz, and I tried adding the following to my /etc/pulse/default.ca, but it is not working:

load-sample-lazy x11-bell /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/drip.ogg
load-module module-x11-bell sample=x11-bell

Can anyone give me a hint here?

2 Answers 2


To fix this problem persistently:

  • Run gconf-editor and use it to change desktop | gnome | peripherals | keyboard | bell_mode from off to on
  • Add pactl upload-sample /usr/share/sounds/gnome/default/alerts/glass.ogg bell.ogg to the file ~/.xprofile
  • 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.

  • You need the package gnome-control-center-data to get glass.ogg Nov 16, 2014 at 13:39
  • No more works on Ubuntu 20.04 from July 2020 at my side. Gnome Terminal stays mute. (AFAICS it worked with the May version)
    – Tino
    Jul 18, 2020 at 18:11

I've got it figured out. For some reason, maybe it's Unity startup, the X11 bell is disabled by default.

Using the PulseAudio config in my question above, and the following commands issued in a terminal, it works:

xset b on && xset b 100

However, when you reboot, it'll be disabled again, so here's what I did:

  1. Create a file called /home/[youruser]/bin/bellon and put the following text in it:

    xset b on && xset b 100
  2. Type chmod +x /home/[youruser]/bin/bellon

  3. Open the startup applications control panel
  4. Click Add on the right
  5. In the "name" field, put bellon
  6. In the "command" field, put /home/[youruser]/bin/bellon
  7. Click the add button in the dialog.

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