New mail notification sounds – 3 easy fixes for Outlook 2016 in Windows 10

Outlook users undoubtedly recognize this problem: the new mail notification suddenly stopped. Usually, it only concerns the sound of new mail. But sometimes the visual notification (popup) also no longer works.

This article provides the solutions to that problem. You can also use the steps below if you want to set up mail notifications for the first time.

It’s a few simple steps, and it doesn’t take long. Let’s get started!

Fix 1: Set the notification sound in the Sounds dialog box

Don’t just skip this paragraph while thinking “I already did this. Next fix please.”. There’s a caveat!

Follow these steps to set the notification sound for new mail in Outlook:

  1. Click Start, start typing “Change system sounds“, and select “Change system sounds” as soon as it appears
    open change system sounds in Windows 10
  2. In the Sound window, go to tab Sounds.
  3. In the Program Events, scroll down to Desktop Mail Notification and select it.
  4. Then, in the Sounds: dropdown, select Windows Notify Email
  5. Click Apply to save the changes
    set desktop mail notification in Sound

You may want to do the same for the Program Event: New Mail Notification, but as far as my knowledge goes, this New Mail Notification is meant for the standard Mail app. This UWP app is installed by default when you install Windows 10, and is usually used for Hotmail, Gmail etcetera.

If you changed the Sound in step 4, then that’ll probably your fix for the New Mail Notification. Try it by sending yourself an email!.

If it’s not fixed yet, continue with Fix 2 ->

Fix 2: Turn off Focus Assist

Focus assist is a new feature in Windows 10, that practically disables all notifications. It’s a great setting if you’re doing a presentation, or writing a blog post (like I’m doing now). But for business as usual-days, I prefer to set Focus Assist off.

To turn Focus Assist off, follow these steps:

  1. At the bottom right corner, click the notification box. Choose Expand if it’s there
    notification icon expand
  2. Click the Focus Assist icon until it says Off Focus Assist. When it’s turned on, it appears as On Priority only or On Alarms only
    Turn off focus assist

If was Focus Assist was turned on indeed, that surely intercepted the notifications. Try again to send yourself an email. Make sure having your speakers turned on 😉

If it was already off, continue to Fix 3 ->

Fix 3: Set Outlook notifications to ON in Notifications & Actions

Yes, there’s yet another place to enable (or disable) notifications for Outlook. That’s in the Notifications & Actions section in the Settings menu. Here you can configure notifications for practically all apps and programs on your pc.

To check whether Outlook is turned off for showing Banners and Sounds, do the following:

  1. Click Start, go to Settings. In Settings, go to Notifications & Actions
  2. Scroll down to the Get notifications from these senders section
  3. Look for Outlook and check the tickbox next to it. It should be ON. If it’s off, click it to turn it on
    Outlook banners and sounds on

Try again the New Mail Notification by sending an email to yourself. It should work (as I’m out of options 🙂 )

Workaround 4: Create an Outlook rule

This isn’t really a fix, but a workaround more or less. But if it works for you, it’s OK. You may want to consider creating an Outlook rule that plays a sound as soon as an email arrives in your inbox.

Actually, as I’m writing this, this Outlook Alert Rule could become pretty neat! You could, for example play specific sounds for Priority people, and no sound for ordinary people (or subscription mailings).

I was not planning to describe this step by step. But leave a comment if you want me to! I’d be happy to help!


Notifications for Outlook are hard to manage as there are many settings that may intercept the actual new mail notification. However, with these 3 fixes, I’m almost certain you fixed the problem.

There’s still a lot to configure related to notifications. You may want to disable the desktop alert, while keeping the sound turned on. You can also change or disable notification sounds for Reminders and Tasks. And about my pro tip: lots of dialog boxes and control panel settings can be opened by typing a command. Check out my post about Run commands and key combinations.

Did this article help you out? Will you let me know in the comments? I really enjoy comments from my readers, as it keeps me and my blog alive.

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Amazing tips. I had to go to tip 3, but ti worked! Thank you!!


None of these worked. It still plays the default windows notification sound instead of the new email sound I set (and yes, it is a *.wav file)

Nicholas Rossis

I had the same problem. Turns out, the new sound needs to be in the Media folder!


This was an excellent and methodical solution. I simply turned off Focus Assist and all’s settled again now (for a while – until the next update drops default settings back on my plate)!


This worked for Outlook installed and not the Outlook APP. Thanks!

Daniel Morin

It should be noted that for Windows Notification to work with Outlook, Outlook must be in cache mode.

Why does it need to be so difficult?

Workaround 4 & disabling desktop alert was the fix for me. Thanks


worked great! thank you. Finally!

Anita Garner

Thank you. I have new Windows 11 and new Outlook 2021 and nothing I’ve tried gets me an email notification. Yes, I’d love it if you’d describe how to create an email rule as a workaround. Thank you.

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