9 Nostalgic Technology Sounds That Will Make You Feel Really Old

Sound has an incredible ability to transport you to a time long-passed. These nostalgic sounds of technology are prime examples.
Christopher McFadden
nostalgic soundsNate/Flickr

Sound is one of our primary senses, and it is a very powerful one indeed. Older music can stir memories of a time long passed as if it had only happened yesterday, but the same is true for more mundane sounds like those generated by technology.

Whilst everyone's personal experience will vary widely between individuals, some technology of the past was so ubiquitous that many who lived through that time cannot help but have experienced it. The following 9 are some excellent examples.

1. The beautifully nostalgic sound of Dial-up internet

Children today (by that we mean anyone born after 2000s - yeah you heard!), will never understand what we elder generations had to suffer through to get online.


For those who experienced it, the sound of dial-up will really make you feel like it was only yesterday.

Long before, and sometime during, the mass adoption of broadband internet, you would need to get permission from everyone in the house to use the internet. This is because you effectively commandeered the house phone line.

The series of long beeps and static really added to the anticipation of the great new things you were about to find on this new fangled "internet". Be warned, listening to this nostalgic sound is likely to bring a tear to your eye.

2. The fabulously soothing sound of Windows 95 starting up and closing down

Windows 95 is officially the best ever Windows version every created, fact. Whilst there are some deeply misguided individuals who are filled with hate for the OS, rest assured they can be safely ignored.

For the rest of us who have nothing but fond memories for this masterpiece, there are some sound effects in particular that will really take you back in time. These are, of course, its startup and shutdown sound effects.

Never before or since, have you been so glad you turned on your computer or, indeed, safely closed it down after use. These were literally, and figurately, the icing on top of the perfect cake that was Windows 95.

3. The sound of a floppy disk being read will bring back nightmares

Do you remember floppy disks? The ability to store information on a portable disc was revolutionary at the time.

But as great as this was in theory, you often ran the chance that your data would become corrupted. Every time you loaded it into a computer you were literally playing digital roulette with your finely crafted files.

The distinctive whirring noise they made whilst your computer worked overtime to read them will both bring a smile to your face and make you relive some of the most terrifying moments in your life.

Will it or load or won't it? What's taking so long? Please be ok... the deadline is tomorrow! Such dark days. 

4. You've Got Mail!

When the internet was new AOL was basically the de facto internet service provider. Its helpful sound effect for letting you know you had received an email is today, pure acoustic gold.

For many of us today, checking your inbox is a real chore and often filled with rubbish you just delete, but there was a time every single email was a treasured possession. But with AOL, receiving emails was made even more exciting with their 'You've got mail' audio prompt.

Sadly the novelty of receiving emails quickly ran out within a few short years as you were bombarded with spam on an almost hourly basis. Some people always have to spoil the fun.

5. The Pokemon healing noise is great as a text message alert

Pokemon was a truly groundbreaking computer game. It, in part, laid the foundations for many modern games that have followed in its glorious wake.

The game was filled with many iconic and nostalgic sounds and themes but foremost amongst them, at least for the author, was the Pokemon healing sound effect at the Pokemon Centres. It doesn't mess around, and really triggers feelings of relief for your poor fallen gladiator-creatures.

Incidentally, this makes an absolutely fantastic audio prompt for your mobile phone. We like to use it for text messages or voice messages.

Just make sure your phone is on silent during business meetings! You have been warned.

6. The satisfying syncopation of a typewriter

Typewriters are something of relic nowadays, but they have, in their own way, forged the modern world as we know it. Since the rise of computers, many younger generations have never had the pleasure of using one beyond pure curiosity.

This really is a shame. The rhythmic sound of bashing away at the keyboard is incredibly satisfying and, dare we say, hypnotizing.

Perhaps it is well overdue these marvelous pieces of engineering make something of a comeback. As it turns out, there are some retro-style mechanical keyboards available on the market if you want to combine old-school tech with your ultra-modern computer.

Go on treat yourself to a sound from a bygone age.

7. The 'proper' printing sound of a dot matrix printer

Do you remember the good old dot matrix printer? If not, you will never know the pure satisfaction of listening to their distinctive high-pitched screeching noise.

Anyone who worked in an office before the advent of fast printing inkjet or laser printers will immediately be transported back in time when hearing it.

Whilst the printing process was painfully slow and very, very loud, you simply do not get the same satisfaction for printing out something with modern printers. Perhaps, on this occasion, progress has been a good thing in the long run.

8. AOL's Instant Messenger's sound effects are definitely going to bring back memories

Much like dial-up internet and 'You've got mail' above, AOL's Instant Messenger is a sound relic from the past. It became incredibly popular during the 1990s and was still in use until it was finally discontinued in 2017!

This venerable piece of software saw its popularity smashed when social media like Facebook and Twitter made their inexorable rise during the 2010s.

But for anyone who had the pleasure of using it, its unforgettable sound effects will trigger memories of a much more innocent, and fun, internet time.

9. The highly nostalgic Nokia ringtone

In the days before smartphones, Nokia was a market giant of mobile phones. Many owners, including the author, were genuinely torn between keeping the default iconic ringtone and personalizing it.

As it turns out, the Nokia's default ringtone is able to raise an unexpected smile from anyone who lived through this time.

The Nokia tone, which is also known as Grande Valse, was actually composed by a Spanish classical guitarist called Francisco Terrega. It was originally penned as far back as 1902!

When Nokia chose it as their standard ringtone for their series of indestructible mobile phones they had no idea that it would later become something of a cult classic for many years to come.

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