Add Background Sound to Emails in Windows Mail 2009

Listening to Music
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In Outlook Express, Windows Mail and some versions of Windows Live Mail, you can add sound to be played in the background when recipients read your email.

Read to the Tune

Everything is easier with some music.

Reading emails to some Tchaikowskian tune is certainly nice. How can you add background music, though, that will automatically play when the recipient opens the message?

In Windows Live Mail 2009, Windows Mail and Outlook Express, this is easy.

Add Background Sound to Emails

To add background music or sound effects to an email message in Windows Live Mail 2009, Windows Mail or Outlook Express:

  1. Start with a new message in HTML format.
  2. Select Format > Background > Sound from the menu.
  3. Use the Browse button to select the sound file you want to play in the background.
    1. Make sure the file is of a supported sound format:
      1. .wav., .au, .aiff and other wave files
      2. .mid, .mi and .midi MIDI files
      3. .wma Windows Media Audio files (Windows Live Mail only)
      4. .mp3 audio files (Windows Live Mail only)
      5. .ra, .rm, .ram and .rmm Real Media files (Outlook Express and Windows Mail only)
  4. Specify whether you want the sound file to be played continuously or a certain number of times.
  5. Select OK.

To change the sound later, select Format > Background > Sound again from the Windows Mail or Outlook Express menu.

What About Background Sound in Windows Live Mail 2012?

Note that Windows Live Mail 2012 does not offer adding background sound to email messages.

Use a Remote Background Sound File from the Web

You can also insert a sound file that resides on a publicly accessible web server instead of having it attached to your message in Windows Mail or Outlook Express (but not Windows Live Mail):

  1. Set any sound file on your computer as the background sound using the steps above.
  2. Go to the Source tab.
  3. Highlight the content of the BGSOUND's src attribute.​
    1. Between quotation marks, it should be the path to the sound file you picked.
    2. If the source reads <BGSOUND src="C:\Windows\Media\ac3.wav">, for example, highlight C:\Windows\Media\ac3.wav.
  4. Paste the sound file's web address (URL) to replace the local sound file.
    1. In the example, the code could read <BGSOUND src=""> to play Bach's double concerto (which, sadly, is not at
  5. Go to the Edit tab and continue composing your message.

Remember that the music will only play if the recipient uses an email client that understands the code and is set to play music automatically. Also, make sure Outlook Express is set to send copies of images and sounds you include instead of just referencing them.