I've had Windows 2000 on my computer for about a year. Recently, for no apparent reason, the system stopped playing sounds associated with system events.

I use the Windows default sound scheme so that the system should play a specific sound when an event takes place. For example, when I empty the Recycle Bin, the system runs recycle.wav, and when new email arrives, the system runs notify.wav. In an attempt to diagnose the problem, I checked the configuration in the Control Panel Sounds and Multimedia applet, but the settings were correct.

Next, I downloaded, but didn't start, Sysinternals' Filemon utility. I right-clicked the Recycle Bin and selected Empty Recycle Bin. A confirmation dialog box appeared, and before I clicked Yes, I started Filemon to determine which files the system ran to empty the Recycle Bin. From the data that Filemon returned, I discovered that explorer.exe was looking for a nonexistent emptyrecyclebin.wav file instead of recycle.wav. Although I couldn't explain this behavior, I worked around the problem by renaming recycle.wav as emptyrecyclebin.wav. The system then played the correct sound when I emptied the Recycle Bin.

The same problem was occurring with the email notification sound. Explorer.exe was looking for a nonexistent file called mailbeep.wav instead of notify.wav. I solved the problem by renaming notify.wav as mailbeep.wav.

I still haven't discovered why explorer.exe was looking for different .wav files. But my solution restored the sound notifications on my system.