Quick Tip: Disable the awful system beep in Ubuntu (and other Linux distros)

So you installed a shiny new version of Ubuntu and are having a time of your life. That is until your machine shrieks with a horribly offensive beep you hadn't heard since 1998. It would blast me out of my chair (and send the dog scurrying for the closet) every time I would hit the backspace key at the console and reach the beginning of the line. It took about four of those beeps before ridding myself of it became a priority.

As with most things in Linux, there are a million different ways of accomplishing the task. Here's the ultra super easy method I like.

echo -e "\n# disable bell\nxset -b" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Sweet Jeesus, that was easy. This method should work for other Linux distributions as well. I haven't tested it though since Ubuntu is the only desktop/laptop Linux I'm currently running.


  • 1. rgh replies at 30th May 2008, 1:07 am :

    Arr. The beauty of silence!

  • 2. epidenimus replies at 18th December 2008, 9:33 am :

    worked immediately. thanks for the simple fix!

  • 3. endianx replies at 23rd December 2008, 5:04 pm :

    This is a better solution than others I have seen as it is user specific, allowing each user to choose if they want to hear the beep or not.


  • 4. Alain replies at 20th March 2009, 2:37 pm :

    A GUI method:

    1. Click System > Preferences > Sound
    2. Click the “Sounds” tab
    3. Uncheck “Play alert sound”

  • 5. kwik replies at 1st June 2009, 6:34 am :

    I had already turned of the beeps in the GUI method and the beeps came back after I rebooted (even though the “Play alert sound” tab is off). Not a good way to start the week…. Setting xset -b gave immediate relieve though. Thanks!

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