SystemSound Extension 3.0, by MacFWORKS
Posted: 13-May-2003

4 out of 5 Mice


Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: UTILITY

Mac OS X 10.1 or above.

Play your favorite system 7 sounds with this freeware background application. You can have it start at login or just let it start when you open your files. In the finder Info dialog for your sound file, change the program to open with to SystemSound Extension.

In Use
If you are a Mac veteran like myself who became attached to all the niceties of Mac OS 9, you will really appreciate this utility. It is another haxie the brings back a missed feature of Mac OS 9 to OS X: namely, the ability to double click a system 7 sound file. I have lots of these sound files laying around in just about every drive and folder on my machine. When I boot up in OS X, however, these files are orphaned. The system does not know what to do with them. With SystemSound Extension, your sound files come back to life. By setting the sound's Info such that it will be opened with SystemSound, double-clicking the sound file in the future does exactly what you would expect - it plays the sound!

Given the number of sound files I have, I wasn't too excited about having to set the Info for each file, but you can set the Open With application such that SystemSound will open the current sound file as well as all files "like it". After setting one file, most of my other sound files were automatically assigned to be open with SystemSound as well. I say "most", because there were still some sound files that didn't get recognized correctly. I'm not sure if this is a bug in OS X, or if there is some other minor detail that set some sound files apart from others. In any case, setting the stragglers to SystemSound was not a problem.

One advantage to SystemSound over playing sounds in Mac OS 9 is that it plays the sounds asynchronously. In OS 9, when you double-clicked a sound file, the system was tied up and you could not do anything until the sound completed or was interrupted. With SystemSound, while the sound plays, you are free to go about your business (the sound continues to play).

The other side of the coin is that since the sound is playing in the background, the Command-Period keystroke that is used to interrupt sound playing in OS 9 does not have any affect when playing sounds with SystemSound in OS X. This can be especially annoying if you are sampling many long sounds just to hear the beginnings (i.e., you will have to hear the entire sound). It would be nice if SystemSound put up a dialog box so that you could have some simple method to interrupt the sound.

SystemSound is a simple, yet very welcome addition to the pool of OS X utilities. It breathes life back into those system sound files from Mac OS 9 and earlier, and does so extremely well. There is the additional benefit of asynchronous play, freeing up your computer's CPU while the sound is playing, and even lets you play multiple sounds at the time time. The lack of a way to interrupt the sound, however, is one drawback of the utility. If you have system sound files that you'd like to play with a double-click, this free utility is exactly what you need.


  • Plays System 7 sounds in OS X with a double-click
  • Asynchronous play frees CPU
  • Free!


  • Does not provide a dialog window to let you interrupt a sound
  • Does not provide a streamlined process to associate all sound files

Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice